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Full text of "The Boston mob of "gentlemen of property and standing." : Proceedings of the anti-slavery meeting held in Stacy Hall, Boston, on the twentieth anniversary of the mob of October 21, 1835. Phonographic report by J. M. W. Yerrinton"

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MOB OF OCTOBER 21, 1835. 





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MOB OF OCTOBER 21, 1835. 





j. b. yerrinton and son, 



In accordance with a call issued by a Committee of Arrange- 
ments, the Anti-Slavery friends in Boston and vicinity assembled 
at Stacy Hall, (Codman's Block,) 46 "Washington street, (the 
identical spot which was the scene of the ever memorable out- 
break of 1835,) on Sunday, the 21st of October, at 2 o'clock, 
P. M. The weather was exceedingly unpropitious, but the hall 
was filled to its utmost capacity, and the ante-rooms leading 
thereto were crowded with eager and interested listeners. Sel- 
dom is it the privilege and blessing of any man to look upon such 
a concourse of noble men and devoted, self-sacrificing women; and 
the spectacle, with the solemn and deeply interesting proceedings 
of the occasion, will not, we have faith to believe, be without an 
abiding and beneficent influence upon the hearts of all present. 

At about half-past two o'clock, the meeting was called to order 
by Wm. Lloyd Garrison, who said — 

Ladies and Gentlemen, — It is a stormy day to-day, and it 
was a very stormy day twenty years ago this day. The storm of 
to-day is of the Lord — it is well ; the storm twenty years ago was 
of the Adversary — it was ill. I think, if I were to take your 
suffrages as to the man who of all others ought to preside — to have 
the honor, allow me to say, to preside — on this occasion, you would 
all agree that it is the man who, after the Female Anti- Slavery 
Society was driven from this place, offered them the use of his 
house, at the risk of having it pulled down over his head. I al- 


ludeto our friend, Francis Jackson. He " still lives," and long 
may he live; and I propose that he preside on this occasion. 
Those who are in favor of this proposition will manifest it. 

The motion of Mr. Garrison was carried by a unanimous vote, 
and Mr. Jackson came forward and took the Chair. He said — 

Friends, — I am glad to meet you at the old homestead. It 
was here that one of the mile-stones of the Anti- Slavery move- 
ment was erected, and a very important one it is. It marks the 
progress of the Anti-Slavery movement; it also marks a most 
disgraceful spot in the history of Boston. 

Twenty years ago this day, I ascended these flights of stairs 
amidst riotous men, who came to break up an Anti- Slavery meet- 
ing, and insult the ladies who held it. That most disgraceful mob 
effected its object, with the assistance of the Mayor of the city, 
and the Anti- Slavery ladies were compelled to leave their own 
Hall, and pass out through a long lane of ruffians dressed in broad- 
cloth ; and they were reviled and insulted as they passed along. 

After this gallant achievement of the mob of u gentlemen of 
property and standing," they made an onset upon the sign-board of 
the Anti- Slavery office, and soon tore it down, and threw it upon 
the pavements. The mob roared and stamped upon it like wild 
beasts, and soon broke it in pieces. 

The most prominent person who was engaged in tearing down 
the sign was a well-known merchant, who then kept a store on 
Central Wharf. 

I had some words with several persons well known to me, rela- 
tive to the disgraceful transactions going on before us. I express- 
ed to them my abhorrence of such outrageous conduct ; but I was 
met by a shake of the head. They said that the Abolitionists had 
outraged public opinion long enough ; they did not approve of 
mobs ; but then, the Abolitionists deserved to be rebuked. 

The principal triumphs of the mob were the breaking up of the 
Anti- Slavery meeting and the dispersion of the ladies ; the de- 
struction of the sign-board, and the capture of the Editor of The 
Liberator. No ropes were used about the ladies or the sign- 
board. Not so with friend Garrison ; he was too dangerous a man 


to go unroped or unimprisoned. The prison was thought to be the 
fittest place for him, and he was locked up in Leverett street jail. 
He will, however, make his own statement of what befel him. 

The outrageous conduct of the mob being upheld by public sen- 
timent, the shopkeepers in the lower part of the building became 
much alarmed for the safety of their goods, and were very desirous 
to have the Anti- Slavery office removed from the building. The 
Society was in debt, their office rent was over due, and they feared 
they might be ejected by their landlord, as summarily as the ladies 
were by the mob. They therefore mustered gold enough to make 
a legal tender for their over due rent, and thus put themselves le- 
gally, as they always had been morally, right. 

I will not, however, occupy your time with these small details. 
There are other friends present who will interest you more than I 
can. I see many of the members of the Female Anti-Slavery So- 
ciety here, and I should be glad to hear from them, as I saw how 
they were insulted that day. I would therefore invite them to 
speak, if it is only a few words ; it would be very gratifying to 
hear from them. 

Mr. Garrison — The President of the Female Anti- Slavery 
.Society, Miss Mary Parker, has long since gone to her heavenly 
home. She it was who prayed, while the mobocrats in the hall 
were cheering and threatening violence, — she it was who prayed, 
in a clear and unfaltering voice, thanking God, that while 
there were many to molest, there were none that could make 
afraid. One of the Vice Presidents of the Society, Mrs. Thank • 
eul Southwick, one of the earliest and most faithful friends we 
have had in the cause, is present with us, and I hope she will 
take a seat on the platform. 

Mrs. Southwick rose, and said, with deep emotion, — "My 
mind has been so much affected by looking around, and seeing how 
few are left, that I would rather not. This is to me a very sol- 
emn and affecting occasion, to meet the few who yet remain 
with us." 

At the earnest request of several friends, however, Mrs. South- 
wick consented to come forward and take a seat on the platform ; 
as did also Miss Henrietta Sargent, another long- tried and most 
devoted friend of the slave. 


The following appropriate passages of Scripture were then read 
by Rev. Samuel May, Jr. : — 

[selections from the psalms.] 

If it had not been the Lord who was on our side, now may Israel say ; if it 
had not been the Lord whx? was on our side, when men rose up against us ; then 
they had swallowed us up quick, when their wrath was kindled against us : 
then the waters had overwhelmed us, the stream had gone over our soul. 
Blessed be the Lord, who hath not given us as a prey to their teeth. Our soul is 
escaped as a bird out of the snare of the fowlers : the snare is broken, and we 
are escaped. 

O bless our God, ye people, and make the voice of his praise to be heard ; 
which holdeth our soul in life, and suffereth not our feet to be moved. For thou, 
O God, hast proved us : thou hast tried us, as silver is tried. Thou hast 
caused men to ride over our heads : we went through fire and through water ; but 
thou broughtest us out into a wealthy place. 

Many are the afflictions of the righteous : but the Lord delivereth him out of 
them all. He keepeth all his bones : not one of them is broken. Evil shall slay 
the wicked ; and they that hate the righteous shall be desolate. The Lord 
redeemeth the soul of his servants ; and none of them that trust in him shall be 

The Lord will be a refuge for the oppressed, a refuge in times of trouble. And 
they that know thy name will put their trust in thee : for thou, Lord, hast not 
forsaken them that seek thee. 

When he maketh inquisition for blood, he remembereth them ; he forgetteth 
not the cry of the humble. 

Unless the Lord had been my help, my soul had almost dwelt in silence. 

Shall the throne of iniquity have fellowship with thee, which frameth mischief 
by a law ? They gather themselves together against the soul of the righteous, and 
condemn the innocent blood. But the Lord is my defence ; and my God is the 
rock of my refuge ; and he shall bring upon them their own iniquity, and shall 
cut them off in their own wickedness. 

Light is sown for the righteous, and gladness for the upright in heart. 

God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble : therefore will 
not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried 
into the midst of the sea; though the waters thereof roar, and be troubled, 
though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof. 

Put not your trust in princes, nor in the son of man, in whom there is no help. 
Happy is he whose hope is in the Lord his God, which executeth judgment for 
the opjjressed, and giveth food to the hungry. The Lord looseth the prisoners ; 
the Lord openeth the eyes of the blind ; the Lord raiseth them that are bowed 
down : he relieveth the fatherless and the widow ; but the way of the wicked he 
turneth upside down. 

Let every tiling that hath breath praise the Lord. Praise ye the Lord. 

A fervent prayer was then offered bj Eev. James Freeman 
Clarke ; after which, the following lines, by John Greenleaf 


Whittier, were read by Mr. Garrison, and a portion of them 
sung by the audience : — 


Now, joy and thanks forevermore ! 

The dreary night has well nigh passed ; 
The slumbers of the North are o'er, 

The giant stands erect at last ! 

More than we hoped in that dark time, 
When, faint with watching, few and worn, 

We saw no welcome day-star climb 
The cold, gray pathway of the morn ! 

Oh, weary hours ! oh, night of years ! 

What storms our darkling pathway swept, 
Where, beating back our thronging fears, 

By faith alone our march we kept ! 

How jeered the scoffing crowd behind, 

How mocked before the tyrant train, 
As, one by one, the true and kind 

Fell fainting in our path of pain ! 

They died, — their brave hearts breaking slow, 

But, self-forgetful to the last, 
In words of cheer and bugle-glow, 

Their breath upon the darkness passed. 

A mighty host on either hand 

Stood waiting for the dawn of day, 
To crush like reeds our feeble band : — 

The morn has come — and, where are they ? 

Troop after troop its line forsakes, 

With peace-white banners waving free, 
And from our own the glad shout breaks, 

Of "Freedom and Fraternity ! " 

Like mist before the growing light, 

The hostile cohorts melt away : 
Hurrah ! — our foemen of the night 

Are brothers at the dawn of day ! 

As, unto these repentant ones, 

We open wide our toil-worn ranks, 
Along our line a murmur runs 

Of song and praise and grateful thanks. 



Sound for the onset ! blast on blast ! 

Till Slavery's minions cower and quail ! 
One charge of fire shall drive them fast, 

Like chaff before our Northern gale ! 

Oh, prisoners in your house of pain, — 

Dumb, toiling millions, bound and sold ! 
Look, stretched in Southern vale and plain, 

The Lord's delivering hand behold ! 

Above the traitor's pride of power, 

His iron gates and guarded wall, 
The bolts which shattered Shinah's tower 

Hang, smoking, for a fiercer fall ! 

Awake ! awake ! my Father-land, 

It is thy Northern light that shines ! 
This stirring march of Freedom's band, 

The storm-song of thy mountain pines ! 

Wake, dwellers where the day expires ! 

Your winds that stir the mighty lake, 
And fan your prairies' roaring fires, 

They 're Freedom's signals ! — wake ! — awake ! 

Mr. Garrison then addressed the audience as follows : — 

Mr. President, — I know of no language more appropriate to 
this occasion than that which was uttered by the Apostle eighteen 
centuries ago — "Having obtained help of God, we continue unto 
this day." 

I need not say to any one in this Hall, this afternoon, what it is 
that has brought us together. Twenty years ago, to-day, this 
street was crowded with men inflamed to the highest degree of 
madness, who riotously attempted to break up a meeting of Anti- 
Slavery women, assembled within these walls for the purpose of 
looking to God for strength to overthrow slavery in our land. 
The sequel you all know. Many of you know all the particulars 
connected with it. 

Before alluding to those particulars, it may be well to go behind 
them, — for the event which we are here to commemorate did not 
spring up out of the ground, or fall like hail from a clear sky. 


There had been a cause for it at work, actively, unceasingly, by 
day and night, for a number of years ; and in tracing it, we shall 
be able more clearly to perceive upon whom rests the responsibili- 
ty for the mobocratic violence which raged at that period like an 
epidemic, and which brought eternal shame upon the city of Bos- 

Let me begin, Mr. Chairman, at the beginning, — with the enun- 
ciation of that simple doctrine, which has shaken this nation like 
an earthquake, and in which were wrapt up all the outrage and vio- 
lence, the persecution and ostracism, which have taken place dur- 
ing the last twenty years, — the necessary consequences of its ap- 
plication to the consciences and the hearts of a pro-slavery people. 
Sir, we should have had no trouble in this land — no household 
divisions — no friends turned into enemies — no mobocratic out- 
breaks — if we had not demanded one thing, if we had not made 
use of one shibboleth. If we had spoken of slavery as an evil, a 
calamity, a curse to be overthrown at some indefinite period, we 
might have spoken in Carolina as easily as in Massachusetts ; we 
might every where have been recognized as good neighbors, excel- 
lent citizens, and sound Christians. But the moment the doctrine 
of immediate, unconditional, everlasting emancipation was enunci- 
ated, it was as the voice of God sounding in the ear of this nation, 
calling upon it at once to repent, to "break every yoke, and let 
the oppressed go free ; " — it was the affirmation of the truth, that 
under no circumstances could slavery be right for a single moment ; 
that the slave was a man, and, being a irian, God made him for 
freedom ; and that there could be no delay in regard to his deliv- 
erance, without a compromise of justice. It was the assertion that 
the black man had a right to be educated here, to be protected by 
equal laws, to develop all his faculties and powers, and to take his 
position side by side with his proud, haughty and oppressive white 
brother. The nation could not endure a proclamation of this kind. 
It was the touchstone whereby all men were proved. It showed 
who loved liberty as a vital principle, and who held it merely as a 
sentiment, a matter of expediency, to be repudiated or sustained as 
occasion might require. 

As soon as this doctrine was enunciated, the Slave Power took 
cognizance of it. It knew that it was " the beginning of the end," 


It knew that if the Abolitionists could not be put down' at that 
time, there was no hope of ever putting them down, and that its 
horrible slave system must be destroyed. Hence, throughout the 
entire South, the greatest consternation prevailed. The slavehold- 
ers, banding themselves together, began to offer rewards for the 
seizure of prominent Abolitionists. Threats of personal violence 
were multiplied on the right hand and on the left. Every mail 
brought letters to me, declaring that I had v only so many days to 
live — that conspiracies had been formed for the purpose of having 
me abducted — &c, &c. Sometimes I received representations on 
sheets of paper, showing me up as tarred and feathered, or hung by 
the neck, or stabbed to the heart, because of my sympathy for the 

The North did not so instantaneously participate in this feeling 
of alarm as the South. It was not until the Colonization conspi- 
racy was unmasked, that the North began to heave with indigna- 
tion and fury, as the South had done in regard to the declaration, 
that slavery ought to be immediately and forever abolished. One 
principle unmasked the South, the other the North; for at the 
North, the Colonization scheme hypocritically assumed to be some- 
what Anti- Slavery, and the people were told, — some were led to 
believe, — that, by helping the scheme, they would help abolish 
slavery in our land, put a stop to the foreign slave trade, and civi- 
lize and evangelize Africa. A large majority of the people, how- 
ever, being infected by the hateful spirit of colorphobia, naturally 
rallied around that scheme ; caring little or nothing for its humane 
and pious pretences, — caring to know but one thing about it, 
namely, that its object was " to get rid of the niggers" — to use 
our refined and Christian dialect towards that injured class. They 
wished them well, hoped they would thrive well — in Africa ; but 
they could not and would not live peaceably with them on the 
American soil. With opposition to this proscriptive crusade be- 
gan the most envenomed hostility to the Anti- Slavery cause. The 
mobocratic spirit ran like wild-fire, North and South. It was im- 
possible to hold Anti- Slavery meetings any where, without danger 
of personal outrage, often at the peril of life. Men calling them- 
selves respectable, and so esteemed, — occupying high and respon- 
sible stations, and reputedly intelligent, virtuous and patriotic, — 


were carried away by " the madness of the hour" — which indeed 
has proved to be not merely the madness of the hour, but of days, 
and months, and years. 

In this state of things, every attempt to elevate the colored 
man in this country was assailed in the most rabid manner. When, 
for instance, Miss Prudence Crandall, a noble Christian lady 
in Canterbury, Conn., who had been teaching a school of white 
young ladies in that village, — feeling her soul baptized into the 
spirit of deepest sympathy with the oppressed, — made up her mind 
that she would educate colored young ladies, instead of white, all 
Canterbury, the region round about, the whole State of Connecti- 
cut, combined to crush her. She was denounced by every hateful 
epithet ; though up to that hour, she had been greatly esteemed 
and admired as a teacher. Among other outrages committed to 
drive her from the place, the well near her house had a large quan- 
tity of filth thrown into it, so that the family should have no water 
to drink. An agreement was made by the traders of the village, 
that they would not sell her any thing, even to eat ; and she ac- 
tually had to send to other towns to procure food to keep her fami- 
ly from starvation. Her house was assailed, and brickbats, rotten 
eggs, and other missiles, were dashed through her windows ; and, 
finally, it was set on fire, to burn it down over the heads of the 
teacher and the taught ! 

At that eventful period, in the spring of 1833, I was induced to 
undertake a mission to England, at the request of my Anti-Slavery 
coadjutors, (a small band indeed,) partly to undeceive Wilber- 
force and Clarkson, and other eminent philanthropists in that 
country, in regard to the real character, design and tendency of 
the American Colonization Society ; and partly to solicit aid to es- 
tablish a Manual Labor School in New England for the education 
of colored youth. In order to frustrate this mission, several lead- 
ing men of Canterbury got out a writ against me, on the charge of 
libel, in consequence of certain strictures in The Liberator, con- 
cerning their infamous treatment of Miss Crandall. Prior to 
sailing from New York, I was watched and hunted, day after day, 
in that city, in order that the writ might be served upon me ; but 
my old friend, Arthur Tappan, took me up into an upper cham- 
ber in the house of a friend, where I was safely kept, under lock 
and key, until the vessel sailed which conveyed me to England. 


Another manifestation of the Colonization spirit was made, not 
long afterwards, in the town of Canaan, New Hampshire, when an 
effort was made to establish a school in that place, for the purpose 
of educating colored children. Though the name of the town was 
Canaan, it was any thing but the land of Canaan to those who went 
there to be taught. A mobocratic demonstration was soon wit- 
nessed, to break up the school. At last, a team of one hundred 
yoke of oxen, being hitched by a chain to the school-house, it was 
dragged off into a swamp ! The school was driven from the town. 

This was the spirit of Colonization, — a spirit which prepared 
the way for every outrage that followed. 

On my return from England, in 1833, the first mob — the pa- 
rent mob, I will call it — of the many that afterwards took place, 
was that witnessed in the city of New York. The Colonization 
journals had industriously circulatedethe lying accusation against 
me, that I had gone to England for the purpose of slandering and 
dishonoring my native land, — that I was in league with British 
tories, conspiring for the overthrow of this republic ! It happened, 
on my arrival in the harbor of New York, that a meeting had been 
called by the Abolitionists of that city, to form an Anti- Slavery 
Society. They were to meet in Clinton Hall. But as soon as it 
was announced that I had arrived, placards were immediately put 
up all over the city, announcing that the " infamous libeller of his 
country, the notorious Garrison," would be at Clinton Hall that 
evening, and summoning all the friends of the Union to be present. 
The appeal was promptly responded to. A mob of five or six 
thousand assembled, and took possession of the Hall, rendering it 
impossible to hold a meeting there ; but the Abolitionists quietly 
withdrew to Chatham Street Chapel, and succeeded in organizing 
a City Anti- Slavery Society, before they were discovered. 

Mr. Chairman, I think what did more than any one thing else to 
fill this land with madness, was the arrival of our noble friend and 
coadjutor, George Thompson, of England, in the fall of 1834. 
He came over here at my earnest solicitation when abroad, and in 
compliance with the desire of the friends of the cause on this side 
of the Atlantic. I had known what he had done in England for 
the abolition of slavery in the British West Islands. He was the 
most eloquent man to whom I had ever listened. Moreover, I 


found him to be a man world-wide in his spirit, principles and feel- 
ings, with nothing English in his composition, in a narrow sense. 
This was indicated in the answer he made to those who taunted him 
with being a foreigner, that he was not consulted in regard to the 
place of his birth ; but if he had been, he might have preferred 
Boston instead of Liverpool, to be the city of his nativity ! I felt 
assured, therefore, if he should come over to us, gifted with such 
powers of argument and persuasion, and master of his subject, he 
would do the Anti-Slavery cause immense service ; but I did not 
dream that his life would be put in jeopardy, and he compelled to 
flee as the only means of preserving it. 

As soon as he came, however, the cry was raised that he was a 
British incendiary; that his pockets were filled with British gold; 
and that it was the design of the Aristocracy of England to upset 
this "glorious Union" of ours ! Designing political demagogues 
and unprincipled public journalists filled the air with these foul 
accusations, and they fell upon ears accustomed to take every thing 
from such sources for granted. When, therefore, the spirit of 
American " patriotism" was invoked to put down this dangerous 
11 foreign emissary," George Thompson was treated as though 
he were a wild beast. It is overwhelmingly affecting to go back, 
and recall what he was obliged to pass through ; while it is consol- 
atory to know, that his courage never faltered, and that his Chris- 
tian heroism was equal to every emergency. Let me read you 
some extracts from the papers of that day. There was the New 
York Journal of Commerce, as malignant then as now, — more 
malignant, if that were possible, but I do not know that there can 
be any going beyond, where every thing is absolute and perfect. 
Then there were the New York Commercial Advertiser and the 
Courier and Enquirer, daily belching forth their denunciations 
of the Abolitionists, and representing them to be the vilest of the 

Let me give you an extract from the Courier and Enquirer of 
that day, and then you may determine whether it was strange that 
riotous pro-slavery outbreaks followed : — 

" It is time now for this subject to be taken in hand seriously. The movements 
of the immediate Abolitionists involve not merely the welfare of our country, but 
the very existence of her institutions ; and every citizen from Maine to Missis- 


sippi, who has not already made up his mind to a willingness to see our confede- 
racy dissolved, our whole frame of Government broken up, and an experiment 
made to better it amidst the confusion, misery and bloodshed of a revolution, is 
bound to grapple at once with the seditious fanaticism now abroad. It has 
become the duty of all classes and all parties — of the hall of legislation — of 
the press — of the pulpit, and of every good citizen within his own particular 
sphere of influence, to assist in putting down this TREASON that is stalking 
through our borders. 

" These dangerous men must be met. They agitate a question that must not 
be tampered with. They are plotting the destruction of our Government, and 
they must not be allowed to screen themselves from the enormousness of their 
guilt, under canting pretences, or even under the delusions, in many instances, 
perhaps, of their own wretched infatuation. The integrity of this Government, 
and the general happiness of this great people, are of too much worth to be 
jeoparded to the caprices of a mad fanaticism ; whether urged into career by wick- 
edness or by folly. "We do not stop to inquire whether the incendiary is about 
to set our house on fire from motives of ill-will, or under the impulses of a disor- 
dered intellect — we snatch the brand from him, whatever ma)- be the impulse 
which is driving him to the deed. The freedom of which we boast so much — 
justly boast so much — is hardly broad enough to protect TREASON. Our 
liberty is not exactly the liberty of pulling down our liberties, and it is a false 
charity that would cherish the TRAITOR who aims at the act — no matter 
under what pretext, and no matter of what delusion he may possibly be the victim 

"Full well does every individual know, that to liberate the slave would be to hoist 
the signal of death to the white population — that it would be unfurling the bloody 
banner of murder, rapine and devastation to his household ! Who would not die 
with arms in his hands, rather than subject himself, and those who are dearer to 
him than life, to such a calamity ? Such will be the result, if the people of these 
Northern States should ever be insane enough to meddle with this fearful subject ! 

" And now, we ask the citizens of the United States if they are prepared to 
bring such a catastrophe upon the country, to gratify the visionary projects of a 
band of canting, drivelling fanatics, one half of them blowing this blast of death 
and desolation to the people of a whole section of the Union, for the sake of no- 
toriety, and the other the mere victims of a senseless infatuation ? Are they 
willing, by giving countenance and currency to such men as Tappan and Lloyd 
Garrison, to put in jeopardy the fair fabric of our liberty — the last and the only 
hope of civil freedom on earth r " 

Again — from the same paper : — 

" No man not blind to future consequences, to all former examples, and to all 
the lessons of past experience, can hesitate a moment in foreseeing that the 
triumph of the Abolitionists is a thousand times more likely to be consummated 
by the extermination of the masters, their wives and their children, than by the 
freedom and consequent happiness of the slaves. 

" As the enemies, then, of social order, of the rights of property, of the lives of 


hundreds of thousands of our brethren of the race of white men, their wives and 
their children, and as the vilifiers and sappers of our social institutions, laws and 
Constitution, we say, therefore, that the preachers and expounders of such 
doctrines are justly amenable to the laws of the land, as common and notorious 
disturbers of the public peace, enemies to the rights of property, and traitors to 
the country! 

" What renders the conduct of these instigators of treason, robbery and mas- 
sacre still more outrageous and indefensible, is the fact of their having imported 
more than one organ of mischief from England, to assist in sowing the live coala 
of ruin and desolation over a large portion of this prosperous land. Not content 
with the agency of the wretched libeller of his country, the exclusive 'friend 
of all the human race,' they have associated in their righteous race an imported in- 
cendiary, ' who left his country for his country's good.' That this apostle of the old 
pussy cats of Glasgow, this tool of Tappanism, has hitherto escaped the Bridewell, 
transportation, or some other species of modern martyrdom, is a proof either 
that our laws are defective, our magistrates neglectful, or our people the best 
natured in the world. 

" We hope and trust that his next attempt in this city will end in a transfer to 
the Penitentiary, as a common disturber and enemy to society, and would earn- 
estly recommend to the superintendent of that institution a solitary probation, lest 
he might corrupt the morals of his pupils." 

The following was the inflammatory language of the Boston Mer- 
cantile Journal : — 

"The conduct of the Abolitionists tends directly to the disturbance of the 
public peace. The present excited state of the community shows that public opin- 
ion is decidedly opposed to the measures which are adopted by the Abolitionists. 
We have already evidence from almost every part of New England, sufficient to 
prove that a meeting of the Abolitionists is but the signal for the assemblage of a 
mob. This being the case, it becomes the duty of those, in whose hands the pub- 
lic authorities of a city or town are vested, to prevent such meetings by the strong 
arm of the law. ( / / / ) 

" If the magistrates have not the power to forbid and prevent assemblages of 
bodies of men or women of a nature, which, according to all human probability, 
will lead directly to a disturbance of the public peace — and perhaps to the 
commission of atrocities, at which humanity would blush — the laics of our country 
are indeed imperfect, and should be amended with all possible despatch. If the 
magistrates have that power, and we cannot doubt that they have it, they ought to 
exercise it to prevent the assemblage of such meetings, and thus save the commu- 
nity from the disgrace of witnessing the acts of men, who, the victims of a morbid 
excitement, rashly assume the functions of the judge and the executioner. 

"We admit unhesitatingly, that the proceedings of Garrison and Thompson, 
and those who act with them, cannot be justified either upon the score of principle 
or expediency. We presume that every liberal-minded man, who is not laboring 
under a hopeless delusion on this subject, whether he be what is termed an Aboli- 
tionist or a Colonizationist, will condemn their conduct in toto. Their delirious 


and impotent efforts to irritate the great mass of the people, under a pretence 
that they wish to convince them of their errors in relation to the subject of 
slavery, deserve the most severe reprobation. We have no sympathies for them. 
And we cannot help entertaining an opinion that the authorities of this city, and 
of towns in various parts of Massachusetts, have been neglectful of their duties 
in not arresting these disturbers of the public peace, these manufacturers of 
brawls and riots, and causing them to give security in a large amount for their 
future good behavior. Such a measure, we believe, is what justice requires, and 
what the laws would sanction." 

Here is a specimen of the spirit displayed by the Boston Centi- 
nel at that time : — 

"As to Thompson, the foreign vagrant, who has attempted with impudent zeal 
to create excitement, he has been hooted from every place where he has recently 
attempted to hold forth. He has been completely silenced in this city and vicin- 
ity, and the last accounts we have of him are from Concord, New Hampshire, 
from which place he was scouted by the good sense of the people, and it is said 
that he was compelled to flee to the woods for safety. In short, such is the pre- 
vailing sentiment against him, that he will never be allowed to address another 
meeting in this country. There is no mistake on this subject, and we speak of 
it as a matter of fact, of general notoriety. He has been completely silenced, and 
he will doubtless soon find it most expedient to return to his own country, and 
give an account of his mission to the silly women who squandered their money 
for his support." 

Here is an extract from the Boston Courier , which still main- 
tains its satanic malignity : — 

' George Thompson. This scoundrel proposes to lecture some of the women 
of our city this afternoon, at Julien Hall. The vagabond would have made no 
addresses, nor delivered lectures in any of our cities, if he had not found encour- 
agement from our own citizens. The poor devil must live, and to get bread he 
must fulfill his covenant. His supporters have no such apology for their conduct. 
The caution, we have said, we think superfluous. Persons of both sexes will 
doubtless be at Julien Hall, but what ladies would encourage, even by their coun- 
tenance, the continuance of lectures, debates and addresses adapted, if not intended, 
to interrupt and eventually to destroy the union of these States, and to lead 
more directly to scenes of lawless violence, by exciting a state of feeling which 
may not be so easily subdued as provoked ? " 

The Commercial Gazette continued daily to publish articles 
like the following : — 

•« It is certainly very remarkable, that Mr..Thompson should dare to browbeat 
public opinion in this way. It is in vain that we hold meetings in Faneuil Hall, 


and call into action the eloquence and patriotism of our most talented citizens, if 
Thompson and Garrison and their vile associates in this city are to be permitted 
to hold their meetings in the broad face of day, and to continue their denunci- 
ations against the planters of the South. They must be put down, if we would 
preserve our consistency. The evil is one of the greatest magnitude — and the 
opinion prevails very generally, that if there is no law that will reach it, it must 
be reached in some other way." ****** 

" "Why does Mr. Thompson thus brave public opinion ? Why does he persist 
in agitating the abolition question, in irritating the feelings of our citizens, and 
driving them to acts of lawless violence ? He may raise a storm which will be 
terrible in its consequences, if he attempts to deliver an address iia this city on 
"Wednesday afternoon : we are sure that he will meet with a resistance that neither 
he nor his friends will be able to withstand. There is a feeling awake that cannot 
be mistaken. This resistance will not come from a rabble, but from men of prop- 
erty and standing, who have a large interest at stake in this community, and who 
are determined, let the consequences be what they may, to put a stop to the 
impudent, bullying conduct of the foreign vagrant, Thompson, and his associates 
in mischief." * * * * * * * ' * 

"The Anti- Slavery Society hold one of their incendiary meetings this morning 
at Julien Hall. The mischievous Garrison will deliver an Oration on the occasion, 
to the * black and white ' spirits of the city. If the orator and his hearers could 
all be thrown overboard this morning, as was the tea in the days of the revolution, 
every true friend to the Union of the States would have cause to rejoice most 
heartily. A cold bath would do them good." * * * * 

" If the Anti-Slavery fanatics persist in holding public meetings in this city, 
to discuss the subject of slavery, who will be answerable for the consequences ? 
If there is no law that can reach these common disturbers of the public peace, 
they must be reached and put down in some other way, or they will destroy the 
Union of the States." 

Imagine language like this put forth authoritatively on the part of 
some of the most influential journals of the day, and what the 
effect must have been upon the combustible materials then getting 
into a state of wild conflagration ! 

Next, appeals were made to Northern cupidity ; and our mer- 
chants and manufacturers were told by Southern slaveholders, that 
if this agitation were allowed to go on, it would break up all inter- 
course with the South : and a staggering blow would thus be given 
to Northern commerce and manufactures. This was " the pocket 
argument," and it had more effect in Boston than in any other 

Appeals were made, also, to the religious prejudices of the peo- 
ple. The Abolitionists were represented as those not inclined to 


give heed to the teachings of the Bible ; who boldly affirmed that 
it was an Anti- Slavery volume ; and that God, in the Bible, was 
on the side of the oppressed, and against the oppressor. The idea, 
that slaveholding under all circumstances is a sin against God, was 
treated as a pestilent heresy ; and every effort was made to pre- 
judice us in the minds of religious people. 

Appeals were made, also, to the hateful spirit of colorphobia. 
.We were represented as intent upon amalgamation, and it was said 
that all we cared for was to get black wives or black husbands, as 
the case might be ; whereas, it was evident that God had made the 
colored race to be "hewers of wood and drawers of water" here, 
and that the only way for them to rise in the scale of being was to 
get as far off from us as Africa. 

The next device was to excite alarm for the safety of the Union. 
I am deeply impressed, as I look over the records of that period, 
to mark how early the slaveholding spirit recognized the fact, that 
Anti- Slavery was necessarily and inevitably Anti-Union. From 
the very first hour I stood forth to plead for the slave, it was uni- 
versally declared that the result of the agitation would be the over- 
throw of this Union. I did not believe it then ; I do believe it 
now, and rejoice in the fact, because it is a Union cemented with 
the blood of millions in bondage, and therefore accursed of Heaven. 
The sooner it is dissolved, the better. But I did not so understand 
it at that time. The Slave Power, however, well understood it ; 
for it is unmatched for sagacity, vigilance and discernment. It is 
never misled ; it never mistakes ; it is always sure. If you wish 
to know what you ought to do to put it down, just see what it is 
that gives it the greatest alarm. 

In Philadelphia, in the summer of 1835, a mob sacked some 
thirty houses occupied by the colored inhabitants, many of whom 
were driven out into the woods like wild beasts, to hide themselves 
from the fury of their merciless assailants. At an earlier day, the 
colored citizens of New York were treated in a similar manner. 

At that time, too, the slaveholders were busily engaged in rifling 
the United States mail of every letter, paper and pamphlet that 
savored of abolitionism. These were taken out, and made a bon- 
fire of, as at Charleston, S. C, in the presence of the clergy, and 


the leading citizens. The Charleston Courier gave the following 
account of this transaction : — . 

" Attack on the Post Office. The recent abuse of the U. S. mail to 'the 
purpose of disseminating the vile and criminal incendiarism of northern fanatics, 
has caused a great and general excitement in our community, and led, on 
Wednesday night, as may have been expected, to an attack on the Post Office, 
which, although perhaps not to be justified, had much to excuse it, in the cause 
of provocation. 

" Between the hours of 10 and 11 o'clock, that night, a number of persons 
assembled about the Exchange, and without any noise or disturbance, but on the 
contrary, with coolness and deliberation, made a forcible entry into the Post 
Office, by wrenching open one of its windows, and carried off the packages 
containing the incendiary matter. 

" According to full notice published, the pamphlets, &c, were burned at 8 P. M. 
the next evening, opposite the main guard-house, 3000 persons being present. 
The effigies of Arthur Tappan, Dr. Cox, and W. L. Garrison, were at the same 
time suspended. At 9 o'clock, the balloon was let off, and the effigies were con- 
sumed by the neck, with the offensive documents at their feet." 

This lawless procedure was virtually justified bj the Postmaster 
General, Amos Kendall, in a long and elaborate paper, as a 
measure of self-preservation against the designs of Northern incen- 
diaries ! This was his view of it, in which the press of the coun- 
try seemed generally to acquiesce : — 

" There is reason to doubt, whether the Abolitionists have a right to make use of 
the mails of the United States to convey their publications into States where 
their circulation is forbidden by law ; and it is by no means certain that the mail- 
carriers and postmasters are secure from the penalties of that law, if they 
knowingly carry, distribute or hand them out. Every citizen may use the mail for 
any lawful purpose. The Abolitionists may have a legal right to its use for dis- 
tributing their papers in New York, where it is lawful to distribute them ; but 
it does not follow that they have a legal right to that privilege for such a purpose 
in Louisiana and Georgia, where it is unlawful. As well may the counterfeiter 
and the robber demand the use of the mails for consummating their crimes, and 
complain of a violation of their rights when it is denied. (!!!) 

" Upon these grounds, a postmaster may well hesitate to be the agent of the 
Abolitionists in sending their incendiary publications into States where their cir- 
culation is prohibited by law, and much more may postmasters residing in those 
States refuse to distribute them." 

An application was made to the city authorities for the use of 
Faneuil Hall for an Anti-Slavery Convention, but it was unani- 


mously rejected. The Commercial Gazette thereupon raised the 
following note of exultation : — 

"-The refusal of the authorities of this city to suffer the advocates of abolition 
and disunion to desecrate Faneuil Hall with the display of their riotings and 
excess, has elicited the applause and admiration of that portion of our fellow-citi- 
zens of other States, who are opposed to disunion, and are not disposed to yield 
the rights of American citizens to an army of Jim Crows and their white asso- 
ciates. As an evidence of the spirit of the press, indicative as it is of the 
remains of decency and propriety, we copy the following paragraphs : — 

[From the New York Times.] 

" ' The Mayor and Aldermen of Boston have unanimously refused the abolition 
lecturers admission into Faneuil Hall. Well and bravely done ! The old temple 
of liberty must not be desecrated by admitting within its walls the mad fanatics, 
who, if unchecked, will trample our freedom into the dust/ 

[From the New York Courier and Enquirer.] 

" ' The Abolitionists refused admission to Faneuil Hall. It is gratifying to see, 
as we do by the Boston papers, that these wretched plotters of mischief have been 
promptly refused admission into Faneuil Hall. A petition for liberty to desecrate 
that honored edifice by a meeting of the immediate emancipationists, signed by 
the leading spirits of that most miserable of the disorganizing factions of the day, 
was presented to the Mayor and Aldermen of Boston, and that body, with 
a feeling and spirit that do it signal honor, refused unanimously to grant the 
incendiary request. 

" ' What ! the cradle of liberty in little more than half a century to become its 
coffin ? The place where the Adamses and Otises have so often uttered in 
burning eloquence the matchless value of our institutions, to echo with the raven 
croakings of such creatures as Garrison, the mad imbecilities of Stow, the 
flatulent dogmatisms of the fanatic from Kentucky, [James G. Birney,] and the 
theatrical contortions of the mouthing and noisy driveller acting as the stipendi- 
ary of the Glasgow sempstresses ? 

" * We rejoice that the Municipal Government of Boston has thus stepped be- 
tween the venerable building so long devoted to a pure patriotism, and the fanatical 
banditti that would pollute it. To have suffered such an assemblage within its 
walls would have taken from it half the venerated sacredness of the place. It 
would have levelled the proudest monument of New England's history ; for 
Faneuil Hall would have lost all the charms of its glorious reminiscences by 
such a contamination. Heaven grant that the day may be extended far, very 
far into future time, when that building shall be dishonored by the presence of 
traitors, whether of native growth, or brought here from foreign countries, to 
sever the bonds of this Union.' " 

By a singular coincidence, an Anti- Slavery Convention was 
held on this very day, twenty years ago, in Utica, N. Y., for the 
purpose of forming a State Anti- Slavery Society. That Conven- 


tion had been looked for with great anxiety and alarm on the part 
of the South, and it was declared that, cost what it might, the 
meeting must be broken up. Accordingly, a mob assembled in 
great force, to prevent the contemplated organization ; but they 
were foiled in their purpose. After the formation of the State So- 
ciety, however, it was deemed advisable to adjourn the meeting, 
at the invitation of Gerrit Smith, (who nobly took that occa- 
sion to join the Anti- Slavery ranks,) to Peterbqro', the place of 
his residence, where they completed their business. 

Singularly enough, too, on the very same day, a mob endeav- 
ored to break up an Anti- Slavery Convention which was held at 
Montpelier, Vermont, and was to have been addressed by our be- 
loved friend, Samuel J. May. 

Indeed, in every direction, the advocates of the slave were the 
objects of popular fury. 

Before the meeting was held which we are here to celebrate, 
the Boston Female Anti- Slavery Society engaged the New Jeru- 
salem Church, (now called Cochituate Hall,) for the purpose of 
holding a meeting ; but the mob spirit was so rife, that the trus- 
tees backed out, and declared that the Society should not have the 
church, unless twenty thousand dollars were deposited in the bank, 
as security against any damage done to their property. Julien 
Hall was next secured by the Society ; but just on the eve of hold- 
ing the meeting, the lessee receded from his engagement, afraid of 
a mob, — for a mob was threatened. It happened that Rev. Hen- 
ry Ware, Jr,, officiated on the previous Sunday in the pulpit of 
Rev. Dr. Channing, and he innocently read the notice of the con- 
templated meeting of the Society in Julien Hall, which act created 
a great commotion in that parish, and brought down vials of wrath 
upon his head from all the leading Boston presses. 

As another proof of the malignant state of the public mind at 
that time, I recollect seeing, a few days before the attack, one of 
our independent military companies marching through Washington 
street, with a target to be shot at, on which was painted an image 
intended for George Thompson, and also the figure of a colored 
woman, in close proximity. This was an attempt to excite all that 
was murderous in the city. It was saying, in effect — " George 
Thompson deserves to be shot. We shall shoot at his ef^gy to- 
day. Make sure of him, if you can, to-morrow." 


What also served greatly to inflame the public mind against Mr. 
Thompson was an atrocious accusation brought against him by a 
Southern student at Andover, named Kauffman, who falsely de- 
clared that Mr. Thompson had said, in one of his addresses at An- 
dover, that the slaves ought to be stimulated to cut their mas- 
ters' throats. Imagine the effect of such a charge as this upon 
the public mind, already exasperated almost to madness ! It was 
like fire applied to gunpowder. The whole community was in an 
inflammable state, and here was the torch to start the conflagration. 

I believe all the Boston presses, — with one exception religious- 
ly, and one exception politically, — were animated by a violent 
pro-slavery spirit. The exception politically is a singular one to 
name at this day. You could hardly guess what paper it was ; 
you could not guess who the editor was. I will tell you. The 
paper was the Boston Daily Advocate, edited by Benjamin F. 
Hallett ! Mr. Hallett, at that time, was our magnanimous de- 
fender, and ready on all occasions to risk his own safety in vindi- 
cating our right to be heard, though he had a mighty opposition 
to stem in regard to his anti-masonic principles. Then he showed 
himself every inch a man ; now, every inch of manhood appears 
to have gone from him. The exception religiously was the New 
England Spectator, edited by Rev. William S. Porter, and it 
did us good service. 

• Allow me to read you some extracts from the Boston newspa- 
pers of that period. I will read first from the Christian Regis- 
ter, the Unitarian organ : — 

" After they [the Abolitionists] perceive that it is impossible to make them- 
selves understood, and that the inevitable tendency of their doings (while all the 
rest of mankind are obstinately in the dark respecting them) is directly opposite to 
their wishes and prayers, is it not time for them to pause? " &c. * * 

" We have been more and more persuaded, that the means they have been pur- 
suing tend either to prolong and increase the evils of slavery, or to produce a con- 
vulsion in the country beyond any thing which its inhabitants have ever wit- 

That was an appeal to violence, it seems to me, at least indi- 
rectly, because it was calculated to inflame and madden the public 


The Baptist Christian Watchman said : — 

" While we have no apology to offer for a riot under any circumstances, we hold, 
as being equally culpable, those who persist in a course that is calculated to 
excite such proceedings." 

Thus, Jesus was responsible for his own crucifixion, and we were 
to be held responsible for every mob ! 

The Boston Recorder, edited by Eev. Joseph Tracy, at that 
time the mouthpiece of the Orthodox denomination, said : — 

"Mr. Garrison's policy, we have no doubt, is to identify his cause with the cause 
of civil liberty, by making it necessary for all who would defend civil liberty to 
defend him and his meetings. He wishes to put all good citizens under the 
necessity of choosing between him and the mob ; believing that, in such case, they 
will be on his side. It is, therefore, his settled policy to provoke mobs as much 
as he can." 

But the Commercial Gazette was, on the whole, the most ac- 
tive and the most malignant in its efforts to put down our move- 
ment by mobocratic violence. 

Early in August, 1835, fifteen hundred of the most prominent 
citizens of Boston appended their names to a call for a public meet- 
ing in Faneuil Hall, to denounce the agitation of the question of 
slavery as putting in peril the existence of the Union. Some who 
signed that call have long since repented of the act, and brought 
forth fruits meet for repentance, and now glory in the Anti-Slave- 
ry cause. There was the most intimate connection between this 
meeting and the riotous outbreak of October 21st. 

Well, the meeting was held in Faneuil Hall, (the Mayor in the 
chair,) and addressed by the Hon. Harrison Gray Otis, Hon. 
Peleg Sprague, and Hon. Richard Fletcher, whose speeches 
were eminently calculated to whet the knife to be put into the heart 
of George Thompson by some stealthy assassin. No men could 
have brought deeper disgrace upon themselves than they did in re- 
gard to the opprobrious language which they used toward Mr. 
Thompson and the Anti-Slavery cause. If there were time, I 
would give you some extracts from those speeches ; but I refer 
those of you who are curious to know what they said, to the files 
of the The Liberator ) or the leading Boston papers of that day. 


Here what was the language of the Commercial Gazette on 
the subject : — 

' Faneuil Hall Meeting. Let it not pass unheeded. If, however, disregarding 
its warning and solemn voice, this Society persevere in their nefarious schemes, 
let the bolt of public indignation fall upon them ; let them be marked as disturb- 
ers of the public peace, and shunned as traitors to the country. Let no citizen 
who sets a value on the Union of the States — let none who hold to those sacred 
principles bequeathed to them by the immortal Washington, have any inter- 
course with men whose measures are firebrands, arrows and death, and whose 
success would be the destruction of this now happy Republic." 

The whole city was now wrought up to a pitch of insanity. It 
having been advertised that the Boston Female Anti-Slavery Socie- 
ty would hold a meeting at 46 Washington Street, on the 21st of 
October, a placard was circulated through the business portion of 
the city, announcing the fact, and stating that George Thompson 
would be present. This was printed at the office of the Commercial 
Gazette, and written by Mr. Homer, one of the editors of that 
paper, and an active instrument in getting up the mob, and in see- 
ing it carried through. Here is a copy of it : — - 



That infamous foreign scoundrel THOMPSON, will hold forth this afternoon, 
at the Liberator Office, No. 46 Washington Street. The present is a fair oppor- 
tunity for the friends of the Union to snake Thompson out ! It will be a contest 
between the Abolitionists and the friends of the Union. A purse of $100 has 
been raised by a number of patriotic citizens to reward the individual who shall 
first lay violent hands on Thompson, so that he may be brought to the tar-kettle 
before dark. Friends of the Union, be vigilant ! 

Boston, Wednesday, 12 o'clock. 

It was a false statement, that Mr. Thompson was to be there. 
He was not in the city, and had not been asked to address the meet- 
ing. The ladies, however, had requested me to deliver an address 
on the occasion. I thanked them, and told them I would do so. 
Accordingly, on that eventful day, anticipating a serious disturb- 
ance, I went to the hall some time before the hour of meeting ; 
but, early as it was. I found the doorway and staircase crowded 
With rioters. I was recognized and hooted at, and with difficulty 


I passed through them. In the hall, I found some thirty women, 
who had anticipated the hour of meeting, and had thus been enabled 
to get in. Others, who came later, were kept from entering by the 
crowd. The street was densely packed, and the outcries of the 
mob were various. This is not the same hall. The building in 
which we met was subsequently injured by fire, torn down, and re- 
placed by the present structure. The hall ran lengthwise, and was 
differently shaped from this. One part of it was partitioned off for 
the Anti-Slavery office, in which we had all our books and publi- 
cations, none of which, happily, got into the hands of the mob. On 
entering the hall, I took my seat quietly, waiting until I should be 
asked to speak. In the midst of the howlings of the riotous 
throng, a prayer was offered by the President of the Society, Miss 
Mary Parker, in a strong and clear voice. I shall never forget 
it. It was thrilling beyond description ; evincing the utmost trust 
in God, and complete serenity of soul, as she " thanked God that 
while there were many to molest, there were none that could make 
afraid." After a while, it was suggested that if I would withdraw, 
my absence might influence the ruffians to behave with more de- 
cency. I accordingly left the hall, and stepped into the Anti- 
Slavery office adjoining, and locked the door. I found no one 
there, except my friend, Charles C. Burleigh. I immediately 
sat down, and wrote to a friend in Providence a description of the 
incidents of the day, as they were transpiring. Whilst writing, the 
ruffians in the hall broke in the lower panels of the door, and 
stooping down, glared at me through the aperture like so many 
wolves, and shouted — "Here he is!" — "Out with him! out 
with him ! " My friend, Mr. Burleigh, with admirable courage 
and presence of mind, stepped out of the room, locked the door on 
the outside, and put the key into his pocket. He then, non-re- 
sistant though he was, stood guard ; and it was entirely owing to 
his calm and firm demeanor that our office was not harmed. The 
rioters, however, got hold of some prayer and hymn books, belong- 
ing to a religious society that occupied the hall every Sunday, and 
threw them out of the window as incendiary documents ! 

I will not occupy your time by going into all the details of this 
disgraceful affair. Suffice it to say, that the Mayor, on entering 
the hall told the ladies they must disperse, for the sake of the 


peace of the city! This they declined doing until they had trans- 
acted a portion of their business, "when they retired in a calm and 
dignified manner, though scoffed at and insulted as they passed 
through the lawless throng. 

The cry was now raised for the Anti-Slavery sign-board. This 
was soon thrown down, in the presence and by the acquiescence of 
the Mayor, and exultingly danced upon, and finally broken into 

Again the cry was raised for u Thompson ! " The Mayor (the 
late Theodore Lyman) assured the rioters that Mr. Thomp- 
son was not in the hall. They knew, however, that I was, and so 
they clamored for my surrender. The agitation of the Mayor was 
excessive. Unwilling or unable to protect me by an appeal to the 
military, but desirous that I should receive no harm, he endeavor- 
ed (having cleared the building of the rioters) to find some way of 
exit for me, so as to be able truthfully to announce that I was no 
longer in the hall, and thus induce the rioters to disperse. It was 
proposed that I should escape by dropping from a window in the 
second story upon a shed, and from thence into a yard, leading 
through a carpenter's shop, into Wilson's lane. I felt at first very 
great reluctance to leave the premises in this manner ; but, by the 
urgent entreaties of the Mayor and his posse, and of several Anti- 
Slavery friends then present, (among them my early and faithful 
coadjutor, Samuel E. Sewall, Esq.) — and to avoid the charge 
of wilfully hazarding my life when a quiet withdrawal was feasible 
— and as no pledges were given or exacted, and no sacrifice of 
principle was involved in such a step — I consented to make the 
attempt, accompanied by a friend, Mr. John R. Campbell, now, 
I believe, in the spirit-land. The attempt proved unsuccessful. I 
w r as instantly discovered by persons on the watch — Wilson's lane, 
in the course of a few minutes, was densely filled with the rioters, 
the most active of whom found me in the second story of the car- 
penter's shop alluded to, and, coiling a rope around my body, let 
me down to the crowd below. I was dragged bare-headed through 
the lane into State street, where my clothes were nearly all torn 
from my body, the intention being, as I understood, to carry me 
to the Common, and there give me a coat of tar and feathers, a 
ducking in the pond, &c. &c. Approaching the door of the City 


Hall, on the south side, the Mayor and his constabulary succeeded 
in rescuing me with difficulty, and I was taken up into his office. 
The Post Office was then located in that building. As the night 
was approaching, and the mob were still bent on my seizure, it was 
deemed necessary alike for the preservation of the Post Office and 
of my life, to send me to the jail in Leverett street, as the only 
place of safety to be found in the city. But I must be committed 
legally, of course; and so, to obtain a writ of commitment, Sheriff 
Parkman had to take a false oath, that I was a disturber of the 
peace ! — though I believe he was actuated by a friendly and sym- 
pathizing spirit. Not to have saved my life would I have had him 
act in this manner. To the jail then I was sent, every effort being 
made by the mob once more to get possession of my person, but in 
vain. I remained in jail till the next day, when the Court came 
to me, and formally discharged me as one who had done no evil, 
and whose imprisonment had been only a ruse to protect my life ! 
The heroism manifested by the ladies of the Female Anti-Slave- 
ry Society, on that trying occasion, was beyond all praise. Some 
of them have since fallen by death. Among the number present 
in the hall was the lamented Ann Greene Chapman, whose mem- 
ory will always be precious. Allow me to refer to the Will she 
made, to show the spirit by which she was animated. One portion 
was as follows : — 

" Whilst I live, I have solemnly devoted myself to the cause of Truth, Justice, 
Freedom ; and dying, I would yet bless it, in its onward course. 

"Believing that the American Anti-Slavery Society is most beneficial to the 
slave, and is advancing rapidly the coming of Christ's kingdom, I leave to its 
Treasurer, Mr. John Rankin, or his successor in that office, the sum of one thou- 
sand dollars for the use of the Society. 

"To the Samaritan [Colored] Asylum, one hundred dollars. 

"To the Boston Female Anti-Slavery Society, one hundred dollars. 

" I trust that when the hour of death comes, my mind will be, as it is now, con- 
vinced that the way to serve God, and secure his favor, is by making the cause 
of his oppressed children my cause. And then I shall not have lived in vain." 

No, she has not "lived in vain," and, being dead, she yet 
speaketh ! 

It is also due to one who is now drawing near to the grave, to 
refer to her particularly, in connection with this meeting. I al- 


lude to Harriet Martineau, of England. The invitation ex- 
tended to the Female Society to occupy your house, Mr. Chair- 
man, come what might, was very gladly accepted by the Society, 
and the meeting was accordingly held. Miss Martineau had come 
over to our country, some time before, with the highest literary 
reputation, had travelled through the South with great eclat, and 
had been every where received with high honors. She came to 
Boston at this trial-hour, and was at once put in the furnace. She 
had claimed to be the friend of the enslaved at home : it was now 
to be seen whether she would be faithful to her principles on this 
side the Atlantic. The course taken by almost every other distin- 
guished person from the old world has been such, that her conduct 
now looks all the more sublime and glorious. Allow me to give, 
Mr. Chairman, the testimony uttered by her in your own house : — 

" I have been requested by a friend present to say something — if only a word — 
to express my sympathy in the objects of this meeting. I had supposed, that my 
presence here would be understood as showing my sympathy with you. But as 
I am requested to speak, I will say, what I have said through the whole South, 
in every family where I have been, that I consider Slavery as inconsistent with 
the Law of God, and as incompatible with the course of his Providence. I should 
certainly say no less at the North than at the South concerning this utter abomi- 
nation — and I now declare that, in your principles, I fully agree." 

And because she attended that meeting, and enunciated these no- 
ble sentiments, she at once lost caste among the literati of the coun- 
try ; and while she remained here, was treated with manifest scorn 
and neglect. But she never faltered. She is now very ill, and is 
not expected long to survive ; but she has shown that she de- 
serves to be ranked with those of whom the world is not worthy. 

The following despicable article, which her morally heroic course 
elicited from the "respectable" Daily Advertiser at that time, 
will serve to confirm what I have stated, in regard to the treat- 
ment of Miss Martineau : — 

"We were extremely sorry to learn, a few days since, that thi3 lady, who has 
been every where in this country received with the respect and kindness to which 
her eminent talents, and amiable character and manners entitle her, had been 
induced by persuasion, we are inclined to believe, in opposition to her own better 
judgment, to the commission of an act of indiscretion, by which it is to be feared 
she has forfeited some part of the high standing which she held in the good opinion 


of the people of all parties in this country, and placed herself in the position of a 
partisan, in one of the most useless, the most bitter, and consequently the most 
mischievous controversies in which the people of this country have ever been 
engaged. We regret this, not on her own account only, but on that of the public 
at large, both in England and in this country. We had a right to expect from 
her •well known intelligence, from the favorable reception of her publications, 
from the respect and esteem with which she is regarded in the wide circle of her 
personal friends on both sides the Atlantic, and from the opportunities which she 
has enjoyed of becoming acquainted with the institutions, manners and character 
of the people of this country, that her visit here would be productive of a useful 
effect, in disseminating among the people of Great Britain more correct notions of 
the state of society among us. These expectations, we are sorry to say, are in a 
good measure blasted, by the act of indiscretion to which we have alluded. It i3 
of very little consequence, except as it regards the influence which she was capa- 
ble of exerting on other subjects, what arc her opinions on the question of 
slavery. The addition of the weight of her sanction and influence, to a system 
of opinions and measures which have not the remotest tendency to remove the 
evils complained of, and which serve merely as a brand of discord throughout the 
country, will produce no perceptible effect on the prevalence of those opinions 
and measures ; but the enrolling her name with that of George Thompson, the 
most odious foreign renegade who ever visited this country, in propagating doc- 
trines, and encouraging measures, which lead directly to civil war and a dissolution 
of the Union, must shake the faith of many of her friends in the soundness of 
her judgment. We had hoped that the public would have been favored with 
some explanation of the sentiments which are stated, in the Liberator, to have 
been expressed by her, at a late meeting of the Ladies' Anti- Slavery Society, in 
this city. No such explanation having been made, we take this occasion to copy 
the remarks of an intelligent cotemporary, upon the course which she has 
adopted, for the purpor e of showing in what light that course is regarded by those 
who do not see the propriety of preaching up a crusade against slavery, among 
a people where no slavery exists, for the mere purpose of exciting the indignation 
and hatred of the people of those States where it exists by the express sanction of 
the Constitution under which we live." 

I have trespassed too long upon your time in going through 
these preliminaries, but I felt that they were important as bearing 
upon this lawless outbreak in our city, and as showing how the 
prevailing violence of that period was stimulated, and who are to 
be held responsible for it. 

Mr. Chairman, what a change has been effected in public senti- 
ment within twenty years ! It has seemed to me, in scanning the 
file of The Liberator for 1835, as if I were in another country, 
among another people ! 


It is not much to be a professed Abolitionist to-day. The fiery 
trials through which the early Abolitionists passed can never be 
realized, except by those who endured them. Our pathway is now, 
comparatively, strewed with flowers. The Anti- Slavery flame has 
spread from heart to heart, from house to house, from State to 
State. Hundreds of thousands are imbued more or less with sym- 
pathy for the oppressed. The press is inclining more and more to 
the side of freedom ; and all the signs of the times are encourag- 
ing, in regard to the continued growth of our glorious movement. 

On the other hand, it is also true that the Slave Power has 
lengthened its cords and strengthened its stakes. When I tell you 
that, during these twenty years, the natural increase of the number 
of slaves has been equal to the passing of the entire population of 
Massachusetts into a state of bondage, I tell you precisely the 
growth of the slave system during that period. More than a mil- 
lion of slaves are to be delivered, who were not in existence 
twenty years ago — and nearly four millions in all ! 

But, our cause is of God. It has been so from the beginning. 
Why did this nation tremble at the outset? Why were the slave- 
holders smitten as with the fear of death ? Who were the Aboli- 
tionists? Confessedly, in a numerical sense, not to be counted. 
They had no influence, no station, no wealth. Ah ! Mr. Chairman, 
they had the truth of God, and therefore God himself was on their 
side ; and hence this guilty nation quaked with fear when that truth 
was uttered and applied. But our work is not to cease until lib- 
erty be proclaimed throughout all the land, unto all the inhabitants 
thereof. We are to contend until every chain is broken, or until 
our labors on earth are finished. Remember, they only who endure 
to the end shall see salvation, and raise the song of " Victory ! " 
We have fought a good fight, and we shall yet conquer, God help- 
ing us. AH the spirits of the just are with us ; all the good of 
earth are with us ; and we need not fear as to the result of this 
great conflict. 

*' For truth shall conquer at the last : 
So round and round we run, — 
And ever the right comes uppermost. 
And ever is justice done." 


The following hymn, by James Russell Lowell, was then 
sung, to the tune of " Scots wha hae " : — 

Friends of Freedom ! ye who stand 
With no weapon in your hand, 
Save a purpose stern and grand, 

All men to set free, 
Welcome ! Freedom stands in need 
Of true men in thought and deed — 
Men who have this only creed, 

That they will not flee ! 

Though we were but two or three. 
Sure of triumph we should be; 
We our promised land shall see, 

Though the way seem long: — ■ 
Every fearless word we speak 
Makes Sin's stronghold bend and creak — 
Tyranny is always weak, 

Truth is young and strong ! 

All the hero-spirits vast, 
Who have sanctified the past, 
Bearing witness to the last, 

Fight upon our part; 
We can never be forlorn : 
He, who, in a manger born, 
Bore the Priest's and Levite's scorn, 

Gives us hope and heart. 

The audience was then addressed by Wendell Phillips. 

Mr. President, — I feel that I have very little right on this 
platform to-day. I stand here only to express my gratitude to those 
who truly and properly occupy it, for what we all owe them — the 
women and the men — who stood by our honor, and so nobly did 
our duties, when we forgot it an£ them twenty years ago. 

At this hour, twenty years ago, I was below in the street ; — I 
thank God I am inside the house now ! I was not in the street as 
one of the mob, but as a spectator. I had come down from my of- 
fice in Court street to see what the excitement was. I did not un- 


derstnnd Anti-Slavery then ; that is, I did not understand the 
country in which I lived. We have all of us learned much since ; 
learned -what Anti-Slavery means — learned what a Republican 
Government really is — learned the power of the press and of mon- 
ey, which I, at least, did not know then. I remember saying to 
the gentleman who stood next to me in the street — "Why does 
not the Mayor call out the regiment ? — (I belonged to it then) — 
we would cheerfully take arms in such a case as this. It is a very 
shameful business. Why does he stand there arguing? Why does 
he not call for the guns 1 " I did not know that the guns were in 
the street — that the men who should have borne them were the 
mob ; that all there was of government in Boston was in the street ; 
that the people, our final reliance for the execution of the laws, 
were there, in the street. Mayor Lvman knew it ; and the only 
honorable and honest course open to him was, to have said — " If I 
cannot be a magistrate, I will not 'pretend to be one." 

I do not know whether to attribute the Mayor's disgraceful con- 
duct to his confused notion of his official duties, or to a cowardly 
unwillingness to perform what he knew well enough to be his duty. 
A superficial observer of the press and pulpit of that day would be 
inclined to consider it the result of ignorance, and lay the blame at 
the door of our republican form of government, which thrusts up 
into important stations dainty gentlemen like Lyman, physicians 
never allowed to doctor any body but the body politic, or cunning 
tradesmen who have wriggled their slimy way to wealth ; men who 
in a trial hour not only know nothing of their own duties, but do 
not even know where to go for advice. And for the preachers, I 
am inclined to think this stolid ignorance of civil rights and duties 
may be pleaded as a disgraceful excuse, leaving them guilty only 
of meddling in matters far above their comprehension. But one 
who looks deeper into the temper of that day will see plainly enough 
that the Mayor and the Editors, with their companions " in broad- 
cloth," were only blind to what they did not wish to see, and knew 
the right and wrong of the case well enough, only, like all half-edu- 
cated people, they were but poorly able to comprehend the vast im- 
portance of the wrong they were doing. The mobs which follow- 
ed, directed against others than Abolitionists, the ripe fruit of the 
seed here planted, opened their eyes somewhat. 


Mr. Garrison has given us specimens enough of the pres3 of 
that day. There was the Daily Advertiser, of course on the 
wrong side — respectable when its opponents are strong and nu- 
merous, and quite ready to be scurrilous when scurrility is safe and 
will pay — behind whose editorials a keen ear can always catch 
the clink of the dollar — entitled to be called the Rip Yan Winkle 
of the Press, should it ever, like Rip, wake up ; the Advertiser con- 
descended, strangely enough, to say, that it was not surprised (!) 
that papers abroad considered the meeting of mobocrats in the 
street below a riot (!) ; but the wiser Advertiser itself regarded 
it " not so much as a riot as the prevention of a riot" ! It 
" considered the whole transaction as the triumph of law over 
lawless violence, and the love of order over riot and confusion'''' ! ! 
Dear, dreamy Van Winkle ! and he goes on to "rejoice" at the 
exceeding " moderation " of the populace, that they did not mur- 
der Mr. Garrison on the spot ! And this is the journal which 
Boston literature regards as its organ, and which Boston wealth 
befools itself by styling " respectable ! " 

Next came the scurrilous Gazette, which it is said repented of 
its course when it found that Northern subscribers fell off and 
Southerners continued to despise it as before ; and which, outliv- 
ing public forbearance and becoming bankrupt, earned thus the 
right to be melted into the Daily Advertiser. 

With them in sad alliance marched the Courier — always strong 
and frank whichever side it took, and even of whose great merit 
and bravery between that time and this, it is sufficient praise to say, 
that it was enough to outweigh its great wrong in 1835, and its 
vile servility now. 

With rare daring, the Christian Register, the organ of the 
Unitarians, snatched the palm of infamy. In a moment of forget- 
ful frankness, it counselled hypocrisy ; suiting manner to matter, it 
hints to the Abolitionists, that they should imitate the example, 
as, with laughable ignorance, it avers, of the early Christians of 
Trajan's day, and meet in secret, if the " vanity " of the ladies 
would allow ! The coward priest forgot, if he ever knew, that the 
early Christians met in secret beneath the pavements of Rome, 
only to pray for the martyrs whose crosses lined the highways, 
whose daring defied Paganism at its own altars, and whose human- 


ity stopped the bloody games of Rome in the upper air ; that they 
met beneath the ground, not so much to hide themselves, as to get 
strength for bolder attacks on wicked laws and false altars. 

Infamy, however, at that day, was not a monopoly of one sect. 
Hubbard Winslow, a Pharisee of the Pharisees, strictly Ortho- 
dox, a bigot in good and regular standing, shortly after this preach- 
ed a sermon to illustrate and defend the doctrine, that no man, un- 
der a republican government, has a right to promulgate any opin- 
ion but such as"a majority of the brotherhood would allow and 
protect; " and he is said to have boasted that Judge Story thank- 
ed him for such a discourse ! 

The Mayor played a most shuffling and dishonorable part. For 
some time previous, he had held private conferences with leading 
Abolitionists, urging them to discontinue their meetings, profess- 
ing, all the while, entire friendship, and the most earnest determi- 
nation to protect them in their rights at any cost. The Abolition- 
ists treated him, in return, with the utmost confidence. They 
yielded to his wishes, so far as to consent to do nothing that would 
increase the public excitement, with this exception, that they in- 
sisted on holding meetings often enough to assert their right to 
meet. Yet, while they were thus honorably cooperating in avoid- 
ing every thing that would needlessly excite the public mind, go- 
ing to the utmost verge of submission and silence that duty per- 
mitted, — while the Abolitionists, with rare moderation, were 
showing this magnanimous forbearance and regard to the weakness 
of public authority and the reckless excitement of the public, the 
Mayor himself, in utter violation of official decorum and personal 
honor, accepted the chair of the public meeting assembled in Fa- 
neuil Hall, and presided over that assembly, — an assembly which 
many intended should cause a mob against the Abolitionists, and 
which none but the weak or wilfully blind could avoid seeing must 
lead to that result. In his opening speech to that factious meeting, 
the Mayor, under oath at that moment, to protect every citizen in 
his rights, and doubly bound just then by private assurances to 
these very Abolitionists, forgot all his duty, all his pledges, so far 
as to publicly warn them of the danger of their meeting, — a 
warning or threat, the memory of which might well make him 
tremblingly anxious to save Garrison's life, since of any blood 


shed that day, every law, divine and human, would have held the 
Mayor guilty. 

Such was the temper of those times. The ignorant were not 
aware, and the wise were too corrupt to confess, that the most pre- 
cious of human rights, free thought, was at stake. These women 
knew it, felt the momentous character of the issue, and consented 
to stand in the gap. Those were trial hours. I never think of 
them without my shame for my native city being swallowed up in 
gratitude to those who stood so bravely for the right. Let us not 
consent to be ashamed of the Boston of 1835. The howling wolves 
in the streets were not Boston. These brave men and women were 
Boston. We will remember no other. 

I never open the Statute Book of Massachusetts without thank- 
ing Ellis Gray Loring and Samuel J. May, Charles Follen 
and Samuel E. Sewall, and those around me who stood with them, 
for preventing Edward Everett from blackening it with a law 
making free speech an indictable offence. And we owe it to fifty 
or sixty women, and to a dozen or two of men, that free speech was 
saved, in 1835, in the city of Boston. Indeed, we owe it to one 
man. If there is one here who loves Boston, who loves her honor, 
who rejoices to know that, however thin the thread, there is a 
thread that bridges over that dark and troubled wave, and connects 
us by a living nerve with the freemen of the Revolution, and that 
Boston, though betrayed by her magistrates, her wealth, her press, 
and her pulpits, never utterly bowed her neck, let him remember 
that we owe it to you, Sir, (Mr. Jackson,) who offered to the wo- 
men who were not allowed to meet here, even though the Mayor 
was in this hall, the use of your house ; and one sentence of your 
letter deserves to be read whenever Boston men are met together 
to celebrate the preservation of the right of free speech in the city 
of Adams and Otis. History, that always loves courage, will 
write it a page whiter than marble and more incorruptible than 
gold. You said, Sir, in answer to a letter of thanks for the use of 
your house : — 

** If a large majority of this community choose to turn a deaf ear to the wrongs 
which are inflicted upon their countrymen in other portions of the land — if they 
are content to turn away from the sight of oppression, and ' pass by on the other 
side' — so it must be. 


"But when they undertake in any way to impair or annul my right to speak, 
•write, and publish upon any subject, and more especially upon enormities which 
are the common concern of every lover of his country and his kind — so it must 
not be — so it shall not be, if I for one can prevent it. Upon this great right let us 
hold on at all hazards. And should we, in its exercise, be driven from public 
halls to private dwellings, one house, at least, shall be consecrated to its preser- 
vation. And if, in defence of this sacred privilege, which man did not give me, 
and shall not (if I can help it) take from me, this roof and these walls shall be 
levelled to the earth — let them fall, if they must. They cannot crumble in a 
better cause. They will appear of very little value to me, after their owner shall 
have been whipped into silence." 

This was only thirty days after the mob. I need not read the 
remainder of the letter, which is in the same strain. 

We owe it to one man that a public meeting was held, within a 
month, by these same women, in the city of Boston. But to their 
honor be it remembered, also, — a fact which Mr. Garrison 
omitted to state, — that when Mayor Lyman urged them to go 
home, they left this hall in public procession and went " home " 
to the house of Mrs. M. W. Chapman, in West street, to organize 
and finish their meeting that very afternoon. To Mrs. Chapman's 
pen we owe the most living picture of that whole scene, and her 
able, graphic, and eloquent reports of the proceedings of the Female 
Anti-Slavery Society, and specially of this day, have hung up to 
everlasting contempt the " men of property and standing " — the 
" respectable " men of Boston. 

Let us open, for a moment, the doors of the hall which stood 
here, and listen to the Mayor receiving his lesson in civil duty 
from the noble women of this Society : — 

Mr. Lyman — " Go home, ladies, go home." 

President — " What renders it necessary we should go home ? " 

Mr. Lyman — "I am the mayor of the city, and I cannot now explain; but 
will call upon you this evening." 

President — " If the ladies will be seated, we will take the sense of the meeting." 

Mr. Lyman — " Don't stop, ladies, go home." 

President — "Will the ladies listen to a letter addressed to the Society, by 
Francis Jackson, Esq. ? " 

Mr. Lyman — " Ladies, do you wish to see a scene of bloodshed and confusion } 
If you do not, go home." 

One op the Ladies — " Mr. Lyman, your personal friends are the instigators 
of this mob ; have you ever used your personal iaHueiice with them ? " 


Mr. Lyman — "I know no personal friends ; I am merely an official. Indeed, 
ladies, you must retire. It is dangerous to remain." 

Lady — "If this is the last bulwark of freedom, we may as well die here as any 

There is nothing braver than that in the history of the Long 
Parliament, or of the Roman Senate. 

At that Faneuil Hall meeting, one of " the family " was pres- 
ent ; one of that family that was never absent when a deed of in- 
famy was to be committed against the slave, — a family made up 
mostly of upstart attornies, who fancy themselves statesmen, be- 
cause able to draw a writ or pick holes in an indictment. Mr. 
Thomas B. Curtis read the resolutions ; and then followed three 
speeches, by Harrison Gray Otis, Richard Fletcher, and 
Peleg Sprague, unmatched for the adroit, ingenious, suggestive 
argument and exhortation to put down, legally or violently, each 
hearer could choose for himself, all public meetings on the subject 
of slavery in the city of Boston. Every thing influential in the 
city was arrayed against this Society of a few women. I could 
not but reflect, as I sat here, how immortal principle is. Rev. Hen- 
ry Ware, Jr., read the notice of this Society's meeting from Dr. 
Channing's pulpit, and almost every press in the city woke bark- 
ing at him next morning for what was called his " impudence.'' 
He is gone to his honored grave ; many of those who met in this 
hall in pursuance of that notice are gone likewise. They died, as 
Whittier so well says, 

" Their brave hearts breaking slow» 

But, self-forgetful to the last, 
In words of cheer and bugle glow, 

Their breath upon the darkness passed." 

In those days, as we gathered round their graves, and resolved 
that the ''narrower the circle became, we would draw the closer 
together," we envied the dead their rest. Men ceased to slander 
them in the sanctuary of the grave ; and as we looked forward to 
the desolate vista of calamity and toil before us, and thought of the 
temptations which beset us on either side from worldly prosperity 
which a slight sacrifice of principle might secure, or social ease so 
close at hand by only a little turning aside, we envied the dead the 


quiet sleep to which we left them, the harvest reaped, and the seal 
set beyond the power of change. And of those who assaulted them, 
many are gone. The Mayor, so recreant to his duty, or so lacking 
in knowledge of his office, is gone ; the Judge, before whom Mr. 
Garrison was arraigned the next day after the mob, at the jail, is 
gone ; the Sheriff, who rode with him to the jail, is gone ; the city 
journals have changed hands, being more than once openly bought 
and sold. The editor of the Atlas, whose zeal in the cause of mob 
violence earned it the honor of giving its name to the day — " the 
Atlas mob " many called it — is gone ; many of the prominent ac- 
tors in that scene, twenty years ago, have passed away ; the most 
eloquent of those whose voices cried " havoc " at Faneuil Hall has 
gone, — Mr. Otis has his wish, that the grave might close over 
him before it closed over the Union, which God speed in his good 
time ; — the same principle fills these same halls, as fresh and vital 
to-day, as self-fixed and resolute to struggle against pulpit and 
press, against wealth and majorities, against denunciation and un- 
popularity, and certain in the end to set its triumphant foot on man 
and every thing that man has made alike. 

Here stands to-day the man whom Boston wealth and Boston 
respectability went home, twenty years ago this night, and gloried 
in having crushed. The loudest boasters are gone. He stands to- 
day among us, these very walls, these ideas which breathe and 
burn around us, saying to him, " I still live." If, twenty or twice 
twenty years hence, he too shall have passed away, may it not be 
till his glad ear has caught the jubilee of the emancipated mil- 
lions whom his life has been given to save ! 

This very Female Anti-Slavery Society which was met here 
twenty years ago, did other good service but a few months after, 
in getting the Court of Massachusetts to recognize that great prin- 
ciple of freedom, that a slave, brought into a Northern State, is 
free. It was in the celebrated Med case. We owe that to the 
Boston Female An ti- Slavery Society. To-day, Judge Kane, and 
the Supreme Court which alone can control him, are endeavoring 
to annihilate that principle which twenty years ago was establish- 
ed. How far, and how soon they may be successful, God only 

Truly, as Mr. Garrison has said, the intellectual and moral 


growth of Anti- Slavery has been great within twenty years ; but 
who shall deny, that in that same twenty years, the political, the 
organic, the civil growth of slavery, has been more than equal? 
We stand here to-day with a city redeemed — how far ? Just so 
far as this meeting commemorates — the right of free speech is 
secured. Thank God ! in twenty years, we have proved that an 
Anti- Slavery meeting is not only possible, but respectable, in 
Massachusetts — that is all we have proved. Lord Erskine said 
a newspaper was stronger than government. We have got many 
newspapers on our side. Ideas will, in the end, beat down any 
thing ; — we have got free course for ideas. 

But let us not cheer ourselves too hastily, for the government, 
the wealth, the public opinion of this very city in which we meet, 
remain to-day almost as firmly anchored as ever on the side of sla- 
very. Amid all the changes of twenty years, the Daily Adverti- 
ser has not changed a whit — not a whit. The same paper that 
spoke doubtful words before October 21st, hoped the meeting 
would be stopped, and afterwards was so terribly shocked at the 
occurrence of a mob, but was glad the ladies were not allowed to 
hold their meeting, — that same paper would act the same shame- 
less part to-day. That paper, which represented then so well 
the mobocrats in broadcloth, has passed from a father wearied in 
trying to hold Massachusetts back, to his son — whose accession, 
to reverse James First's motto, "no day followed" — and it is 
published to-day with the same spirit, represents the same class, 
actuated exactly with the same purpose. If there is strength out- 
side the city, in the masses, able to rebuke that class, and that press, 
and that purpose, and give the State of Massachusetts more em- 
phatically to some kind of Anti-Slavery, it is still a struggle. I 
would not rejoice, therefore, too much. We must discriminate. 
" To break your leg twice over the same stone is your own fault," 
says the Spanish proverb. 

I came here to-day to thank God that Boston never wanted a 
person to claim his inalienable right to utter his thoughts on the 
subject of slavery, nor a spot upon which he could do it; — that is 
all my rejoicing to-day. And in that corner-stone of individual 
daring, of fidelity to conscience, I recognize the possibility of the 
emancipation of three millions of slaves. But that possibility is 


to be made actual by labors as earnest and unceasing, by a self- 
devotion as entire, as that which has marked the twenty years 
which have gone before. 

I find that these people, who have made this day famous, were 
accused in their own time of harsh language, and over-boldness, 
and great disparagement of dignities. These were the three 
charges brought against the Female Anti-Slavery Society in 1835. 
The women forgot their homes in endeavoring to make the men do 
their duty. It was a noble lesson which the sisters and mothers 
of that time set the women of the present day — I hope they will 
follow it. 

There was another charge brought against them — it was, that 
they had no reverence for dignitaries. The friend who sits here 
on my right (Mrs. South wick) dared to rebuke a slaveholder 
with a loud voice, in a room, just before, if not then, consecrated 
by the presence of Chief Justice Shaw, and the press was aston- 
ished at her boldness. I hope, though she has left the city, she 
has left representatives behind her who will dare rebuke any 
slave-hunter, or any servant of the Slave Power, with the same 
boldness, frankness and defiance of authorities, and contempt of 

Then there was another charge brought against their meetings, 
and that was, that they indulged in exceedingly bad language 
about pulpits, and laws, and officers of the country. That is a sin 
I hope will not die out. God grant we may inherit that also. # 

I should like to know very much how many there are in this 
hall to-day who were out in the street, as actual mobocrats, twenty 
years ago. I know there are some here who signed the various 
petitions to the City Government to prevent the meeting from 
being held, but it would be an interesting fact to know how many 
are here to-day, actually enlisted under the Anti-Slavery banner, 
who tore that sign to pieces. I wish we had those relics; the 
piece of that door which was long preserved, the door so coolly 
locked by Charles Burleigh, — it was a touching relic. We 
ought to have a portion of that sign which the Mayor threw down 
as a tub to the whale, hoping to save some semblance of his au- 
thority ; hoping the multitude would be satisfied with the sign, and 
spare the women in this hall, — forgetting that a mob is controlled 
only by its fears, not by pity or good manners. 


But, Mr. President, it is a sad history to think of. Anti-Slave- 
ry is a sad history to read, sad to look back upon. What a miser- 
able refuse public opinion has been for the past twenty years ! — 
what a wretched wreck of all that Republican education ought to 
have proposed ! Take up that file of papers which Mr. Garrison 
showed you, and think, Republicanism, popular education, a Pro- 
testant pulpit, free schools, the model government, had existed in 
this city for sixty years, and this was the result ! A picture, the 
very copy of that which Sir Robert Peel held up in the British 
Parliament, within a month of the mob, as proof that Republican- 
ism could never succeed. It is a sad picture to look back upon. 
The only light that redeems it is the heroism that consecrated this 
hall, and one house in Hollis street, places which Boston will yet 
make pilgrimages to honor. 

The only thing that Americans (for let us be Americans to-day, 
not simply Abolitionists) — the only thing that Americans can re- 
joice for this day is, that every thing was not rotten. The whole 
head was not sick, nor the whole heart faint. There were ten 
men, even in Sodom ! And when the Mayor forgot his duty, when 
the pulpit prostituted itself, and when the press turned itself into 
a pack of howling hounds, the women of Boston, and a score or 
two of men, remembered Hancock and Adams, and did their duty. 
And if there are young people who hear me to-day, let us hope 
that when this special cause of Anti-Slavery effort is past and gone, 
when another generation shall have come upon the stage, and new 
topics of dispute have arisen, there will be no more such scenes. 
How shall we ever learn toleration for what we do not believe? 
The last lesson a man ever learns is, that liberty of thought and 
speech is the right for all mankind ; and of all opinions, that the 
man who denies every article of this creed is to be allowed to preach 
just as often, and just as loud, as he himself has a right to. We 
have learned this — been taught it by persecution on the question 
of slavery. No matter whose the lips that would speak, they must 
be heard. Let us see to it, my friends, Abolitionists, that we 
learn the lesson the whole circle round. Let us believe that the 
whole of truth can never do harm to the whole of virtue. Trust 
it. And remember, that in order to get the whole of truth, you 


must allow every man, right or wrong, freely to utter his con- 
science, and protect him in it. 

The same question was wrought out here twenty years ago, as 
was wrought in the protest of fifty or a hundred Abolitionists, when 
an infidel (Abner Kneeland) was sent to Boston jail for preaching 
his sentiments. I hope that we shall all go out of this hall, re- 
membering the highest lesson of this day and place is, that every 
man's conscience is sacred. No matter how good our motives are ! 
Mayor Lyman had some good motives that day, if he had only 
known what his office meant, and stayed at home, if he felt himself 
not able to fill it. It is not motives. Entire, unshackled freedom 
for every man's lips, no matter what his doctrine; — the safety of 
free discussion, no matter how wide its range; — no check on the 
peaceful assemblage of thoughtful men ! Let us consecrate our 
labors for twenty years to come in doing better than those who 
went before us, and widening the circle of their principle into the 
full growth of its actual and proper significance. 

Let me thank the women who came here twenty years ago, some 
of whom are met here to-day, for the good they have done me. I 
thank them for all they have taught me. I had read Greek and 
Eoman and English history ; I had by heart the classic eulogies 
of brave old men and martyrs; I dreamed, in my folly, that I 
heard the same tone in my own day from the cuckoo lips of Ed- 
ward Everett — these women taught me my mistake. They 
taught me that down in those hearts that loved a principle for itself, 
asked no man's leave to think or speak, and were willing to sacri- 
fice every thing for it, true to their convictions, no matter at what 
hazard, flowed the true blood of '76, of 1640, of the hemlock- 
drinker of Athens, and of the martyr saints of Jerusalem. I thank 
them for it ! My eyes were sealed, so that, although I knew the 
Adamses and Otises of 1776, and the Mary Dyers and Ann Hutch- 
insons of older times, I could not recognize the Adamses and 
Otises, the Dyers and Hutchinsons, whom I met in the streets of 
'35. These women opened my eyes, and I thank them and you 
(turning to Mrs. Southwick and Miss Henrietta Sargent, who 
sat upon the platform) for that anointing. May our next twenty 
years prove us all apt scholars of so brave instruction ! 


#pw{j rf %m. €^nhxt garter. 

Mr. Chairman, — It is very few words I shall speak on this 
occasion ; I do not consider myself entitled or worthy to say more. 
When you, and Mr. Garrison, and others, were men, and playing 
a manly part here twenty years ago, and these women were playing 
the part, not of " mothers in Israel," but, what is a great deal bet- 
ter, of women, of mothers, in New England, I was what I may call 
a boy, a young man, in the Theological School, studying for my 
profession. I very well remember the 21st of October, 1835. At 
that time, I was occupied chiefly in theological and metaphysical 
abstractions, which are now-a-days coming out in the prayers I 
offer, in the sermons I preach, in the life I try to lead. I was 
then laying the foundation for what I am now trying to establish in 

I very well remember the event of this day. Wholly unexpect- 
ed it was to me ; for I was so lost in Hebrew, and Grecian, and 
German metaphysics, that I did not duly read the Daily Adver- 
tiser or the Commercial Gazette, and had not even heard of Mr. 
Benjamin F. Hallett. Since that time, I have had occasion 
to make the acquaintance of that gentleman. 

I came into Boston that day, and spent the evening with some 
of the most respectable inhabitants of the town, — respectable for 
their descent, respectable for their riches, and still more respecta- 
ble for the social standing which made them looked up to. There 
were four of them present. I do not mention their names, which 
none here will detect. There was but one opinion among all four, 
and that was, in commendation of the deed done. They did not 
exactly commend the mob, or approve of the means ; they com- 
mended the end that was arrived at and accomplished, and thought, 
on the whole, the mob was a very good thing, and that Mr. Jack- 
son, and Mr. Garrison, and these noble ladies, (Mrs. Southwick 
and Miss Sargent,) had deserved it all. They represented the 
sentiment of the "men of property and standing " in Boston at 
that time. They were the respectabilities of Boston. They have 
not altered their mind, I think, to this day ; or at least, two of the 
same men so loved the Fugitive Slave Bill, that they went public- 


ly and thanked Mr. Eliot for his vote in its support, and one of 
them wrote in the Daily Advertiser in support of the bill. 

Allusion has been made to the early Christians. Mr. Samuel 
J. May -once wanted to go and preach Anti- Slavery in the town of 
Taunton, and asked the Unitarian minister if he could have his 
church. " Yes," said the minister. He went to the Unitarian 
minister's house to stop, and he asked him — " Perhaps you will 
open the meeting with prayer, and other services 1 " "I shall be 
very glad to, and I will read some Scripture, if you will allow me." 
So the minister went to the meeting, and " made a prayer," pray- 
ing against the Abolitionists with might and main, — it was not 
much might nor much main ; — and then (for the Goddess of Ven- 
geance never sleeps) he read from the Bible some passages repre- 
senting the conduct of the old prophets and Christian apostles ; and 
what made it still more touching and practical, he took this passage 
out of the book of Acts, " These that have turned the world up- 
side down have come hither also." Thereupon he stopped. Mr. 
May, with that face which is a benediction any where, and that 
voice, which seems to have been created to utter the beatitudes 
which his heart always conceives, said to the audience, u Men and 
women, brothers and sisters, you hear what your minister has said 
to you. He has ended by saying, * These that have turned the 
world upside down have come hither also.' So we have ! Who 
was it ' that turned the world upside down, ' and who were thus 
alluded to. It was Peter, it was Paul, it was James, it was John. 
It was the men who wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins, 
of whom the world was not worthy. They turned the world up- 
side down, because it was wrong side up before. And we have 
come here to do just the same thing over. I thank him for his 

How idle it seems, at this day, to undertake to put down truth 
by mobs ! Violence ! — it is an argument to this poor flesh ; it is 
no argument to a man's mind, to his conscience, or his heart, or 
his soul. And, least of all, is violence, persecution, of any avail 
to a New England man or a New England woman, who has a whole 
file of Puritan fathers and mothers, reaching back beyond the reign 
of Bloody Mary. 

There were two great books which our fathers were bred on. 


One was the Bible ; and though I am no worshipper of the Bible, 
I must say, that whatever high praise be bestowed on Roman elo- 
quence and Roman law, or on Grecian art, philosophy and poetry, 
none of them ever came from such a deep of manly heroism as 
those old Hebrew Prophets, Psalmists and Apostles spoke out of 
and spoke into. And a community which took the Bible for its 
one book, wept over it in sorrow, rejoiced over it in delight, 
prayed over it, and almost worshipped it, — and that at a time, 
too, when priest and king forbade, — would be likely to have some 
heroes among its sons and daughters. That we might depend 
upon, — for the Bible does not lack spunk, depend upon it. If 
the Puritans did not take the Love of the New Testament, they 
did take the sternness, the unconquerable courage, that flamed in 
the Old Testament, and in the New. That was the first book. 

The other was a kindred work ; — it was Fox's History of the 
Martyrs. Mr. Fox was a noble man, who lived three hundred 
years ago, who, with unaccountable industry and untiring patience, 
ransacked all history to find out the story of men who had resisted 
the majority of the Christian Church, been wise and religious in 
advance of the clergy of their day, and suffered in consequence. 
There are three volumes of this history — very small type and 
very long pages ; every one of them contains more matter than all 
six of Mr. Bancroft's History. That was the u profane literature " 
of our fathers, with whom the Bible was their sacred literature. 

Now, it must not be supposed that a mob is much of an argu- 
ment with men and women whose pillows were stuffed with Old 
Testament prophets, and whose cradle quilt was made of Fox's 
Martyrs. This mob of '35 was only fanning the flame; and 
every other mob was only fanning the flame. One of the fathers 
of New England said, — I do not give his words, but his idea, — 
When the ungodly are nearest to their hopes, the godly man is 
furthest from his fears. And I put it to these friends behind me, 
if they were ever further from their fears than twenty years ago 
this day ? The woman who presided at that meeting, who would 
not listen to the Mayor's cowardly counsel, and those who were 
associated with her, — why, " when the ungodly were nearest to 
their hopes, they, the godly, were furthest from their fears." 

There were two different spirits present here on that day. One 


was outside, howling and yelling in the mob ; the other was on 
the inside. The outside, it was the slave spirit. It is represented 
by two powers now — one, the Slave Power of the South ; the 
other, the Money Power of the North. They had struck hands 
long ago. Their hands were joined in mutual insurance; they 
have not separated since. The Money Power of Boston is on the 
same side with the Slave Power of Richmond and Alexandria. 

Since that day, see what triumphs have been made by the Slave 
Power ! Then we had, at most, two and a half millions of slaves ; 
there are three and three quarters in the United States to-day. 
Since that day, see what has been done ! Arkansas has been 
made a slave State ; Mississippi a slave State ; Alabama a slave 
State ; Texas has been annexed as a slave State ; the Mexican war 
has been fought in aid of the Slave Power ; Utah and New Mexico 
have been made slave territory ; slavery has been carried into Cal- 
ifornia, and exists there at this day, on sufferance, by the common 
law, though it is forbidden by the Constitution. We have passed 
the Fugitive Slave Bill ; eight and twenty men have been returned 
into slavery from Pennsylvania in a single year, and two from 
Boston. That family, to which Mr. Phillips alluded, had com- 
menced their service of the Slave Power four years before the 
mob. In 1832, when Mr. Samuel E. Sewall, whose office is 
under our feet, asked the Supreme Court of Massachusetts not to 
allow a slaveholder from Cuba to take his slave back, one of that 
same family, Mr. Chakles P. Curtis, asked the Court to deliver 
him up ; and the Court said, " Yes; let the slaveholder have his 
victim ; " and he took him. 

I say, that the Slave Power of the South, allied with the Money 
Power of the North, has made stupendous strides since that time ; 
and just now, it has marched into Kansas and Nebraska, and car- 
ries the ballot-box at the point of the bayonet, and puts down 
freedom with the edge of the sword. In Pennsylvania, you know 
what has been done and is doing. The mob of 1835 is now organ- 
ized, and has the forms of law on its side. Mayor Bigelow and 
Marshal Tukey in 1851, Dr. Smith and Apothecary Edmands in 
1854, they are the mob of 1835, in an official dress. 

You see what strides have been taken by the Power outside. 
But the Power inside has not been inactive. How immensely it 


has grown! Mr. Phillips said it had the press on its side — 
though the Daily Advertiser had not changed. The Advertiser 
is one of my pets. Let me quote something, — it is very brief, 
and is not so dull as its editorials now are, demonstrating the ex- 
istence of the Whig party, — which was published in that paper 
October 22, 1835 — the day after the mob : — 

"As far as we had an opportunity of observing [for it appears the Advertiser 
■was himself present] the deportment of the great number of persons assembled, 
there appeared to be a strong desire that no act of violence should be committed, 
any farther than was necessary to prevent the fomentors of discord from addres- 
sing a public meeting, which the active portion of the crowd were determined at 
all hazards to do. If those who call these useless meetings have not regard 
enough for the public quiet to avoid the summoning of another assemblage of this 
kind, we trust that the proper authorities will take care that they are bound 
over to keep the peace. When women turn reformers, and become so blinded 
by their zeal that they cannot perceive that they are persisting in a most useless 
and dangerous measure, against the universal and clearly expressed sentiment of 
the public, it is incumbent on the officers of the law to step in, and preserve the 
public peace, [by forbidding women to 'assemble and meet together'] and not 
wait until continued provocation shall have led to lawless violence." 

Such was the Daily Advertiser s opinion of a mob which 
attacked a body of women. It was a pro-slavery mob, and so must 
be defended. But listen a moment to the words of this venerable 
authority on Monday, the 17th day of February, 1851. He is 
discoursing on the rescue of Shadrach, which took place on the 
preceding Saturday : — 

" The rescue by violence [six unarmed black men] of a fugitive slave in this 
city on Saturday, while he was in a court of justice, [i. e. in the same room with 
George T. Curtis, fugitive slave bill commissioner,] in the custody of an officer of 
the law, [to wit, the celebrated Marshal Riley,] as related in another column of 
this paper, will naturally suggest to the legislature now in session, the propriety 
of repealing the act passed in 1843, called « an act further to protect personal 
liberty.' It must be very obvious that the maintenance of such a law as this 
[act to protect • personal liberty '] among the Statutes of Massachusetts, tends to 
encourage a violation of the Constitution and a resistance of the laws of the United 

" We trust that the repetition of such an outrage [the deliverance of an inno- 
cent man from the hands of a kidnapper] at noon day, in the heart of our city, 
by which the laws are treated with derision, will awaken our citizens to the 
necessity of some measures, if not to relieve us from the disgrace of such proceed- 
ings, at least for the protection of life and property," &c. &c. 


You see by that first extract how the Advertiser felt the day 
after the mob. It wanted these men, Fkancis Jackson and 
William Lloyd Garrison, and these women, Mrs. Southwick 
and Miss Sargent, bound over to keep the peace, — never to 
utter a word against the great crime of America. Francis Jack- 
son held a meeting in his own house, and came to a different con- 
clusion. It would have taken several Mayors to have made him 
"keep the peace " after that sort ! 

Since this day, twenty years ago, what a step ! See all these 
parties coming up into power, — the Free Soil party, the Repub- 
lican party, — which are only the wings of the great Anti-Slavery 
party which is to be, and will command the continent. Just now, 
it is very plain, that the only question before the people, at the 
next national election, will be, Shall the Slave Power possess the 
Presidential office, or shall the Power of Freedom possess it? 
I say, there is to be only one question before the people, and that 
is the question. 

In my mind, there is no doubt how this is to terminate, at last. 
The Anti- Slavery cause is a very sad one to look back upon, as 
Mr. Phillips said. But so is the history of every great reform. 
Look at the American Revolution — what a sad history it is ! 
Washington fleeing through the Jerseys, his army miserably clad 
and without shoes, marking the ground with their blood wherever 
they set their feet ! What a sad history is that of General Wash- 
ington over there at Cambridge, when Boston was filled with red 
coats ! Here lay a powerful and well furnished army within an 
hour's march ; at one time, he had not three rounds of powder and 
ball for each man ! The history is very sad ; the thing itself is 
not so sad. Let us look about us, and see what honor and praise 
are given to the heroism of the Christian martyrs, who faced perse- 
cution and death with unfaltering courage, and see what triumph 
there is for us, whenever we will — 

" If, beating back our thronging fears, 
By faith, alone our march we keep." 

The God of earth and heaven is on our side. There is no at- 
tribute of Omnipotence that does not take part with us ; and what 
seems distant, we can bring near whenever we will. We honor 


these women for their heroic bearing in the hour of danger. It is 
not the first time in our history that women have stood for the right 
when men have shrunk back in fear. When the question was 
brought before the twelve judges of England as to the right of 
King Charles the First to levy ship money, ten out of the twelve 
said, "0, yes, he has a perfect right ; it is perfectly legal." Every 
body knew it was utterly illegal ; there was not a barrister in all 
England who did not know that. One of the other judges had 
made up his mind to say the same thing ; but his wife remonstra- 
ted with him against such injustice, and she said — You and I are 
getting old : for God's sake, let us go into the next world with clean 
consciences. Doubtless, it will cost you your place ; it is of very 
small consequence. You and I can fare hard, and live cheap and 
poor, only keep our consciences clean. And the judge yielded. 
The woman was much the better man of the two. Our own histo- 
ry is full. Fox's Martyrs runs over, with similar stories ; and you 
cannot go into a little New England town, or into this great New 
England town, — you cannot go where the fidelity of woman does 
not meet you at every step. " When the ungodly are nearest to 
their hopes, the godly are furthest from their fears." Let us take 
a lesson from her. 

" We see dimly in the distance what is small and what is great, 
Slow of faith how weak an arm may turn the iron helm of fate ; 
But her soul is still oracular, — amid the market's din, 
Hear the ominous, stern whisper of that Delphic soul within." 

#proji of Iraq €. Bfrigjii 

Mr. Chairman, — I would not occupy more than a moment, as 
the hour is so late. I was a resident of Boston twenty years ago 
this day, and saw and heard both the preparations for that mob, 
during the six months previous, and also the proceedings of the mob 
itself ; and I was a resident of Boston the following winter. Now, 
the question arises, what caused that mob ? The same Power, Mr. 
Chairman, raised that mob, dragged Mr. Garrison through the 
streets of Boston, tore down that sign, broke up that meeting, — 
the same Power brought about these things, that got up the Mis- 


souri Compromise, and delivered that State over to Slavery, — that 
bought the Territory of Louisiana for the purpose of making it a 
slave country, — that bought Florida, with a view to converting it 
into a slave State, — that precipitated this country into the Mexi- 
can war and annexed Texas, with a view to spread slavery over 
three hundred thousand square miles there, — that has enacted and 
executed the Fugitive Slave Bill of 1850, and all other Fugitive 
Slave Bills, — that is now struggling in Kansas to carry slavery 
into that vast and fertile territory, — that same Power, Mr. Chair- 
man, that met, in 1787, in the city of Philadelphia, when the Con- 
stitution of the United States was there framed, and went into a 
Convention with Liberty to form a government to execute justice 
and secure the blessings of freedom, — that is, the Slave Power of 
our country. 

Mr. Chairman, we have had but just one government in this 
country ever since we became a Republic ; there has been but one 
supreme law of this land, which has controlled every thing, — I 
mean, the will of the slaveholder. That, and that alone, has con- 
trolled the State of Massachusetts ever since she has been a State 
in this Confederacy, and it has controlled all the States of this 
Union. It has mobbed the Abolitionists from town to town, — it 
has taken the lives of our citizens, — it has trampled all our rights 
in the dust, — it has controlled the literature of Massachusetts, 
(one most disgraceful evidence of this has recently been exhibited 
among us, and my heart bleeds at the thought that a man who has 
stood with us so long, and battled so faithfully, should at length 
cower before that monster, the Slave Power,) — it has controlled 
the literature of Massachusetts, her colleges, her Legislature, her 
Judiciary, her Executive, and even her ballot-boxes, — it has con- 
trolled Massachusetts in every thing, even in domestic and social 
relations. It has stalked up and down your streets, and you have 
not dared to meet it ! 

Twenty years ago, Sir, I was a novice in the Anti- Slavery 
movement, but I had made up my mind, — it took me three years 
to be converted, — I was " born again " in 1834, born of God, re- 
generated, once and for ever, on this question, and I made up my 
mind to lay every thing, — my church, my ideas of religion, of the 
Bible, every thing, upon the altar of my Anti- Slavery principles, 


if it was called for. Well, it was called for. I was an orthodox 
man, in my views of religion then, and I had to lay them all on 
the altar of the slave's redemption. 

At that time, Mr. Chairman, we had not entered upon the dis- 
cussion of the Bible question, of the relation of the Church to slave- 
ry, of the Sabbath, of the Constitution or the Union, — not one 
word had then been said upon these subjects. We were all of us, — 
Mr. Garrison with the rest, — set Sabbatarians. We had no 
opposition to these things. We supposed, at that time, that these 
things were going to help us. We had no idea of the conflict be- 
fore us, but we had made up our minds, that provided these things 
stood in the way of Anti- Slavery, they were to be laid on the altar. 
I soon found, for myself, that they did stand in the way. The 
Bible, the Church, the Constitution, and the Union, were all 
thrown right before us, in the pathway of our principles. What 
could we do ? Should we give up our Anti- Slavery principles ? 
Never ! Should we stop to discuss the question whether these 
things were Anti- Slavery or not? For one, I would not do it; I 
never have done it, and I never will. It has always seemed to me 
idle to discuss the question what authorities sanctioned slavery. I 
know it is wrong, whatever great men or so-called sacred books 
may say about it. This feeling has animated me for more than 
twenty years. Whatever stands in the way of Anti-Slavery, I 
will give up. I knoio it is right, as a self-evident fact ; and what- 
ever says to the contrary, utters a self-evident falsehood. 

Now, Mr. Chairman, the question we have to decide is — What 
shall we do ? Some of us, many of us, I believe, have put on the 
armor for death or victory, and, now, what have we to do ? We 
have got a terrible fact to deal with in this country, and we cannot 
stop to discuss the technical meaning of words, whether in the Bi- 
ble or in the Constitution. We have to deal with a fad, that man- 
ifests itself in the religion, in the government, in the literature, in 
the domestic and social life of the country, — the Slave Power. 
What shall we do ? Shall we go on trying to compromise, to keep 
the peace between Liberty and Slavery ? I say, No ! Sir, there 
is but one way to meet that Power, and that is, on the field where 
u Death or Victory" is to be the motto. I say, whenever Slave- 
ry and Liberty meet, there is to be but one issue, and that is, Death 


or Victory ! We have got to come to this, and let us meet it. Let 
the people of Massachusetts take their stand, and proclaim that no 
minion of the Slave Power shall be allowed to exercise any of the 
functions of his office on the soil of this Commonwealth. I wish 
that you would do towards the Slave Commissioners what your an- 
cestors did towards the Stamp Commissioners. What did they do? 
Go and read the history of your Revolutionary struggle. In 1764 
or '65, when a certain Mr. Andrew Oliver undertook to act as 
Commissioner in Boston to enforce the odious Stamp Act of the 
British Parliament, your fathers took him and bore him to the old 
Liberty Tree, and there, under its spreading branches, they made 
him solemnly swear never to exercise his office in this country. 
Now, go call your United States Commissioners, your Curtises and 
Lorings, to account, in the same way, and make them swear never 
to exercise their infamous office in your midst. Especially, do not 
fail to remember Judge Loring the coming winter in your Legis- 

Will you for ever submit to that infernal power which has ground 
you down to the dust ? I do not believe the people of Massachu- 
setts will. I go, Sir, for revolution ! 

Mr. Chairman, while I have been sitting here this afternoon, I 
have noticed quite a number of young men in this assembly, and I 
have asked myself, what course will they take ? Here are three 
sitting near me, — neither of them, twenty years ago, had any ex- 
istence, — two of them, the sons of the man who was dragged 
through the streets of Boston, and one, your own grandson. I 
ask, what course will these young men, now in the bloom of early 
manhood, pursue ? Will they take hold and help us in this cause, 
or will they go on in supporting and strengthening that Power 
which has so long ruled the nation ? Will the young men take 
their stand, and throw off this incubus ? 

I say, Mr. Chairman, let us strike for revolution ! Let us drive 
slavery from our soil, and never allow a man to be put on trial on 
the question whether he is a man or a beast. How long shall this 
last ? I hope to live to see the hour of triumph ; and as I mark 
the spirit that pervades this assembly, I can hardly help crying 
out, Hallelujah ! 


Samuel May, Jr. — There are many persons present whom we 
should be glad to hear, would time permit ; but I hope I may be 
allowed to mention the name of one young man, who has proved 
himself bold and fearless in opposition to the Slave Power, and who 
is about to leave our shores, and may never have an opportunity 
again to utter his voice on this subject, though I trust in God he 
will, many times. I hope we shall remain and hear him now. I 
allude to Thomas Wentworth Higginson. 

fbpmfy nf %m. C W. Xiggtan. 

Mr. Chairman, — The golden moments of this afternoon are 
flown, and neither I nor any one else ought to try to protract them 
further. The light is fading from our eyes, but I trust the light 
will not soon fade away from our hearts, that have been blessed by 
so many noble memories, and made happy by brave and hopeful 
anticipations from those who, of all others, have the best right to 
predict our future. 

It is good for us to have been here, Sir. I have felt it almost 
every moment of the afternoon ; and when I have looked around 
this hall, and seen alternately the smiles upon the lips of noble 
women, and the tears in the eyes of brave men, — seen them as 
well as I could for the closer tears that dimmed my own, — I have 
felt the same hope with the last speaker, that the younger among 
us, especially those who cannot speak from personal memory of 
the " inside " or the " outside " of this hall, on the day we cele- 
brate, — that these young persons, from this Anniversary, may at 
least rekindle the enthusiasm of their own self-devotion. 

Mr. Chairman, one sentence spoken by Mr. Garrison sunk 
deep into my heart this afternoon; — "things are so changed 
around us," he said. It is not for me here and now to question 
one word of his ; but my heart asked my intellect, Are things so 
changed, after all? Is the Massachusetts of 1855 so transformed 
from the Massachusetts of 1835 1 Is State street so utterly 
changed now from what it was when it poured forth its base-heart- 
ed myriads then ? Is it true that all the hard work is done, no 
great duties left, and no great demands made upon us — us, whose 


misfortune it is, not our fault, that we could not bear the yoke of 
twenty years ago ? He did not mean it — I know he did not mean 
it; for it is not true, and therefore he did not mean it. What is 
that great change in which we exult % The Abolitionists of Mas- 
sachusetts have labored for twenty years, and what have they con- 
quered ? What have they conquered ? The right of free speech ! 
They have conquered the right to meet in Stacy Hall, and call 
their souls their own ! But what else ? 

A Voice — " That is something." 

Mr. Higginson — " Something" ! Thank God, it is much ! 
But, in comparison with that vaster much we have yet to gain, the 
result of all this past contest is trifling ! And I say to you, 
younger men and women who are here, that if you come here to 
exult, to tremble with excitement, as I have seen you tremble, at 
the thrilling story of the past, and not to consecrate yourselves to 
continue the work in the future, you have hurt your own souls by 
coming here, and you had better have stayed at home. For the 
more we accustom ourselves to hear of courage and self-sacrifice, 
as things merely historical, — things to be honored and admired, 
not imitated, — the more we lower the tone of our own natures and 
weaken our souls. 

But the Massachusetts of 1855 — what is it ? It is still a part 
of the Union of 1855. And the Union of 1855 — what is it? 
Still a Union between Freedom and Slavery ; still a Union of the 
dead and the living ! The dead and mouldering remains of what 
was once beautiful, bound to the living form of what ought to be 
beautiful, but is fast ceasing to be so from the polluting contact 
of that sad decay ! The Union of 1855 is what the Union of 
1835 was — a Union governed by slavery ; a Union in which not 
merely " slavery is national and freedom sectional," but slavery 
is national, and freedom nowhere ; for there is no foot, no square 
inch, even, of free soil in Massachusetts ! The fairest and dain- 
tiest woman's finger in this hall is not delicate enough to touch one 
little atom of Massachusetts earth that is free at this moment; 
and we, born and bred in dreams of freedom, accustomed from our 
infancy to drink great draughts of sublime ideas, and hopes, and 
wishes, find ourselves, in maturity, with our birthright gone, our 


dreams faded, our hopes betrayed, and life one long conflict, if we 
are true to principle ! If this is the result of those magnificent 
labors and sacrifices of twenty years, how long, do you think, 
are the labors and sacrifices of the future to continue, before the 
work is done ? If all that has passed has only come to this, what 
is the future to be ? God knows ; I do not know. We never 
know what new openings God may have in store for putting an 
end to the long controversies of men, and letting the weary, sad- 
dened spirit of humanity out from its perplexity by some new 
door it did not know until it opened. Upon a single thread of 
flax, perhaps, at this moment, the destinies of this continent may 
hang. We cannot allow for future revelations and possibilities. 
We have got to take the present as it is, and work in it ; and that 
present, even in Massachusetts, is dead against the life of freedom, 
the purposes of freedom, and the hope of freedom ; and if you see 
it differently, it is because you do not know Massachusetts — do 
not see how far off we are from realizing that great, determined 
uprising of the people in behalf of freedom about which we 
dream. We talk as if we had it, even now ; but we have not got it. 
Every man is willing to talk about freedom, many to vote for 
it. Every man is ready to denounce votes given for slavery in 
Congress, and goes on denouncing, until he, or his first cousin, 
gets a seat in Congress, and then he gives the same vote, or turns 
round and applauds it. I now take no satisfaction in hearing men 
abuse politicians. I have heard so much of it, that I am tired. I 
am like the old lady who complained that she could not even take 
comfort in her newspaper. "Why," said she, " I do not even 
enjoy my murders , now IV So I do not even enjoy being in at 
the death of a politician butchered, whether annihilated by the 
sledge-hammer of Theodore Parker or the silver lancet of 
Wendell Phillips. I know all that. I know what has become 
of the Halletts of the past. I remember, that on a certain day, 
when our friend Parker was discharged by the United States 
Court, Mr. Hallett stepped up to him and said — " Well, Mr. Par- 
ker, you have got out at last ; but it was through a very small 
knot-hole." I did not hear Mr. Parker's reply, I was not near 
enough; but I suppose he told Mr. Hallett that he ought to be a 
good judge of that process. I know what has become of the Hil- 


lards, also, (I am sorry their names all begin with H,) who once 
had words to utter even before committees of the Legislature in 
behalf of freedom, and who now cringe before "the hand that feeds 
them," by their own confession, and go to Whig Conventions in 
Worcester, to prove that there is too much Anti- Slavery in Massa- 
chusetts already ! I know what has become of these little men ; 
but I do not care for them. My concern is, what stronger and bet- 
ter men, men who have consciences, are going to do. Will they do 
any better 1 If Massachusetts is to be saved, it is not to be saved 
by politicians; it is to be saved by you, who make politicians. 
Yes, this hall, small as it is, is sufficiently large to hold men and 
women enough to revolutionize Massachusetts, to revolutionize the 
nation, if this handful could summon hearts and energies to do the 
work their reason tells them ought to be done. 

But how is it now ? How is it even with us, Anti-Slavery men 
and women ? Are we ready to make sacrifices ? Some of us, per- 
haps, will say, in our self-complacency, " 0, yes; I gave a dollar 
to a fugitive slave last week." And precisely what I contend 
against is, the low idea we have of what constitutes self-sacrifice. 
I will go far away for an example, and show what can be done in 
a cause not intrinsically noble. Look at those men and women in 
Scotland, who for centuries, I might almost say, with only brief 
intervals, brought up their children, generation after generation, 
with no other dream in their souls except^the laying down of peace, 
and property, and life, in behalf of the exiled Stuarts. No great 
idea was there ; no deep principle of liberty ; not even a great man 
to rally round. Yet there was not a father, who, in those times, 
left his castle or his hut, who did not know, that before he came back 
to it at night, it was an even chance that it might be levelled with 
the ground, and his wife and children dead on the door-step. 
There was not a woman in those days, who saw her husband or 
lover or son leave her in the morning, who did not know that when 
she waved her farewell from the window of cottage or castle, it 
might be for the last time ! Talk of sacrifices ! Whole clans, 
whole tribes, laid life and property a daily sacrifice — they died 
daily, and for what ? For a foolish line of legitimate, dethroned 
kings ! And we, with the greatest of all principles to sustain, 
with three millions of fellow-men and women in the most fearful 


of all bondage, with a whole nation failing and dying for the want 
of the redemption which we must give, — why, we actually de- 
scend to count the sacrifices we make ! We actually, if we have 
made sacrifices, remember them, and allow others to speak of 
them ; — and they are so few, that they can be mentioned ! 

My friends, even in the greatest self-devotion, there is some- 
thing more to be learned, and we have got it to learn. Passmore 
Williamson is in his prison, and Massachusetts men are quiet, 
and go about their daily business ; and if he were in prison in Bos- 
ton, it would be very nearly the same thing. In Kansas, the lib- 
erty of white men is struck down, and held at the point of the 
bayonet, and here in Massachusetts we sympathize — in the ab- 
stract ! But when a brave man comes here to raise money to arm 
with Sharp's rifles, his company of a hundred Kansas farmers, does 
he find a " material aid " at all commensurate with his expecta- 
tions 1 Alas, no ! I have a sad letter which tells the contrary, 
but I will not read it, " lest the daughters of the Philistines re- 
joice." But you cannot wonder if members of Congress, states- 
men, refuse to sacrifice their places for freedom, when we will not 
sacrifice our purses. We cannot wonder at the selfishness of Hun- 
kers, when we remember our own ! 

I tell you, the fanatics have something to learn. (I am stand- 
ing with my back on those old Abolitionists, who have made the 
past sacrifices, and still make them — I am preaching to you, who 
sit before me, — to you, who have got the sacrifices of the future 
to make, — to you, who are not yet prepared to make them.) Are 
the times of danger all passed ? I do not know about that. I was 
not present at the meeting we celebrate ; it all passed over me as 
wars and perils pass unconscious over the heads of boys at school ; 
but I shall never forget the trumpet note that thrilled my soul 
when I first read the record of this day in the description of Har- 
riet Martineau, and of that yet more heroic woman, whose praise 
has not been mentioned as it should have been this afternoon, — 
Maria Weston Chapman, — I shall never forget, I say, the thrill 
that went over me then, nor the sigh that succeeded it — for I did 
not know then as much as I know now — when I said to myself — 
" dear! that is all passed and gone, and Anti-Slavery is easy 


work now : there is nothing more to be dared and done." And 
when I read afterwards, in Emerson's brave words, that u self-sac- 
rifice need never wait long for an opportunity to try its edge," 
it came as a new hope ; — there might be an opportunity yet. And, 
even in these later times, we have opportunities. 

Mr. Phillips told us, that on this day, twenty years ago, the 
military could not protect the meeting, because "the guns were 
outside in the mob — or the men who should have carried them." 
There has been a time since, when the men were on the outside, 
and the guns too ; and as surely as this earth turns on its axis, 
that time will come again ! And it is for you, men who hear me, 
to think what you will do when that time comes ; and it is for you, 
women who hear me, to think what you will do — and what you 
are willing, — I will not say, to consent that those you love should 
do, — but what you are willing to urge them to do, and to send 
them from your homes, knowing that they will do it, whether they 
live or die. 

I am speaking of realities now ; of real dangers and duties here 
in Boston, that appeal to all, — to non-resistants as much as any 
others ; and in speaking of these, I have said enough. But, I say, 
in closing, if there is any young man here who is not prepared to 
devote himself to the doing of such duties, he had better meet the 
issue now, for this night the duty may be required of him. And 
I say, yet more, that as the devotion of Hannibal, and his life-long 
hostility to Rome, were built up by his mother in his childhood, 
when she brought him to the altar in the temple, and day by day 
pledged him there anew ; so we have in vain come here to-day, to 
this honored spot, unless our last act is to touch its consecrated 
altar, and pledge ourselves to Freedom once again and for ever ! 

At the conclusion of Mr. Higginson's remarks, Oliver John- 
son, of New York, associate editor of the Anti-Slavery Standard, 
said, — "It has been to me a source of deep regret, that the Ab- 
olitionists of Massachusetts, and of the whole country, could not 
have been present to catch the spirit of this meeting. I came from 
New York to attend it, and I am a thousand times rewarded. I 
desire to disseminate as widely as possible the spirit which has 


here prevailed ; and in order that I may do so, I propose that we 
shall take measures to publish these proceedings, not only in The 
Liberator and The Standard, but in pamphlet form, for general 
circulation, and especially in this city, where there are thousands 
of men who know more or less of the history of that mob, who will 
read the account of this meeting with deep interest, and I believe 
it will do great good. I therefore propose that a collection be now 
taken, to be devoted to that purpose." 

Henry C. Wright moved that a Committee of five be appoint- 
ed by the Chair, to carry out the suggestion of Mr. Johnson, with 
authority to include in the pamphlet such further account of the 
mob, and its antecedents, as they think proper. 

This motion was carried unanimously, and the following gentle- 
men appointed that Committee : — Oliver Johnson, Samuel 
May, Jr., R. H. Ober, Egbert B. Rogers, Austin Bearse. 

Mr. Garrison then read an extract from a letter written, within 
a few years, by Mr. Homer, former editor of the Commercial 
Gazette, to whom frequent reference has been heretofore made. 
In this letter, Mr. H. expresses his regret at the part he took in 
stimulating the mob, and states that he got no thanks for it from 
the South, and offended many of his Northern subscribers. There 
is no paymaster in the universe, said Mr. Garrison, so sure and 
good as God, and none so bad as the Adversary. 

Mr. G. further remarked, that he had received, that afternoon, 
a beautiful bouquet, from some colored friends residing in Salem, 
as a token of their regard. Twenty years ago, he was presented 
with a halter, by " gentlemen of property and standing " in Bos- 
ton. He had accepted that joyfully ; but the present of to-day, 
with the feelings it evinced, would repay, and overpay, all that any 
man could do in such a struggle. 

In conclusion, Mr. Garrison stated that the carpenter's shop 
from which he was taken by the mob was occupied by Joseph K. 
Hayes, the man who so nobly threw up his commission as a police 
officer, rather than assist in the rendition of Anthony Burns. 
He (Mr. H.) not only closed the doors of his shop and barred 
them, but gallantly endeavored to keep the mob back. The man 
who could do that in 1835, of course would refuse to send a man 
into slavery in 1855. 


The following hymn was then sung, to the tune of " Lenox " : 

Ho ! children of the brave, 

Ho ! freemen of the land, 
That hurled into the grave 

Oppression's bloody band ! 
Come on, come on, and joined be we 
To make the fettered bondman free ! 

Let coward vassals sneak 

From Freedom's battle still, 
Poltroons that dare not speak 

But as their masters will ! 
Come on, come on, and joined be we 
To make the fettered bondman free ! 

On parchment, scroll, and creed, 

With human life-blood red, 
Untrembling at the deed, 

Plant firm your manly tread ! 
Let despots howl, their minions rave, 
Yet we will free the fettered slave I 

The tyrant's scorn is vain, 

In vain the slanderer's breath ! 
We'll rush to break the chain, 

E'en on the jaws of death ! 
Hurrah ! hurrah ! right on go we, 
The fettered slave shall yet be free! 

Right on, in Freedom's name, 

And in the strength of God, 
Wipe out the damning stain, 

And break th' Oppressor's rod ! 
Hurrah ! hurrah ! right on go we, 
The fettered slave shall yet be free ! 

Brief remarks followed from Mr. Alexander Wilson, of Bos- 
ton, and Rev. Charles Spear, at the conclusion of which, the 
company (at a few minutes past six o'clock) dispersed. 




To the Ladies op the Boston Female Anti-Slavery Society : 

Having with, deep regret and mortification observed the manner your Soci- 
ety has been treated by a portion of the community, and especially by some of 
our public journals — and approving as I do most cordially the objects of your 
Association — I offer you the use of my dwelling-house in Hollis street, for the 
purpose of holding your annual meeting, or for any other meeting. 

Such accommodations as I have are at your service; and I assure you it 
affords me great pleasure to extend this slight testimony of my regard for a Society 
whose objects are second to none other in this city. 

With great respect and esteem, 

Boston, Oct. 23, 1835. 


Boston, November 21, 1835. 
Francis Jackson, Esq. : 

Dear Sir, — Yesterday, at a meeting of the Board of Managers of the Massa- 
chusetts Anti- Slavery Society, I was directed, by a unanimous vote, to express to 
you the high sense which the Board entertains of your generosity and noble 
independence, in proffering, as you did, unsolicited, the use and protection of your 
dwelling-house to the Boston Female Anti- Slavery Society, when they had just 
been expelled by lawless violence from a public hall. The duty thus assigned me, 
Sir, it is far more delightful to undertake, than it will be for me to perform in a 
suitable manner. If any thing should awaken our gratitude and high admira- 
tion, it is the conduct of a man who steps forth and takes a decided stand in 
resistance to the multitude, when they are rioting in the way of evil, counte- 
nanced and encouraged by the rich and influential, faintly resisted by the rulers 
of the people, and scarcely reproved even by the guardians of the public morals, 


Such a man, like a rock fallen into a rapid stream, may turn the whole current of 
popular thought and feeling, preserve the ancient landmarks, and avert devas- 
tation and ruin. 

The outrages recently committed in various places, but especially in this city, 
-will be an epoch not merely in the history of the Anti- Slavery cause, but of our 
country. They have revealed, so that the blind may see, the alarming state of 
our guilty land. If this disclosure does not arouse the people to reassert and 
vindicate their rights, then are they already slaves in spirit — and are fitted to 
become themselves the abject subjects of some despot, who will ere long arise 
and make his will their law. The citizens of Boston have presumed to do what 
the Constitution of the United States peremptorily forbids even Congress to 
attempt. They have " abridged the freedom of speech." They have trampled upon 
"the right of the people peaceably to assemble." The apathy of our city govern- 
ment, and the tone of our newspapers, (with two or three honorable exceptions,) 
are indeed ominous of evil ; but I cannot yet despair of Boston or our country. 
Other minds, I know, were affected as yours was, by the late exhibition of the 
spirit of anarchy in our midst ; and I trust many more, whom I do not know, 
have been likewise moved. I will not believe that there are not yet many left, in 
this birthplace of the American Revolution, who understand on what is based the 
security of our civil and religious privileges, and who duly appreciate the import- 
ance of maintaining principle and law, and justice and order. 

I doubt not, Sir, that your noble example will quicken others to manifest openly 
their attachment to what is dearer to true freemen than houses and lands, and all 
earthly riches and honors. 

I am, Sir, with gratitude and sincere respect, yours, 


Corresponding Secretary of the Massachusetts A. S. Society. 

Boston, November 25, 1835. 
Dear Sir : 

I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your highly esteemed letter of 
the 21st inst., written in behalf of the Managers of the Massachusetts Anti- Sla- 
very Society, and expressing, in very flattering terms, their approbation of my 
conduct, in granting to the ladies of the Anti-Slavery Society the use of my 
dwelling-house for their annual meeting. 

That meeting was, to all present, a most interesting and impressive one. It 
will ever be treasured by me among the highly pleasing recollections of my life, 
that it was my good fortune to extend to those respectable ladies the protection 
of my roof, after they had been reviled, insulted, and driven from their own hall 
by a mob. 

But in tendering them the use of my dwelling-house, Sir, I not only had in 
view their accommodation, but also, according to my humble measure, to recover 
and perpetuate the right of free discussion, which has been shamefully trampled 
on. A great principle has been assailed ; one which lies at the very foundation 
of our republican institutions. 


If a large majority of this community choose to turn a deaf ear to the wrongs 
which are inflicted upon their countrymen in other portions of the land — if they 
are content to turn away from the sight of oppression, and " pass by on the other 
side " — so it must be. 

But when they undertake in any way to impair or annul my right to speak, 
write, and publish upon any subject, and more especially upon enormities which 
are the common concern of every lover of his country and his kind — so it must 
not be — so it shall not be, if I for one can prevent it. Upon this great right let us 
hold on at all hazards. And should we, in its exercise, be driven from public 
halls to private dwellings, one house, at least, shall be consecrated to its preser- 
vation. And if, in defence of this sacred privilege, which man did not give me, 
and shall not (if I can help it) take from me, this roof and these walls shall be 
levelled to the earth — let them fall, if they must. They cannot crumble in a 
better cause. They will appear of very little value to me, after their owner shall 
have been whipped into silence. 

Mobs and gag laws, and the other contrivances by which fraud or force would 
stifle inquiry, will not long work well in this community. They betray the 
essential rottenness of the cause they are meant to strengthen. These outrages 
are doing their work with the reflecting. 

Happily, one point seems already to be gaining universal assent, that slavery 
cannot long survive free discussion. Hence the efforts of the friends and apolo- 
gists of slavery to break down this right. And hence the immense stake which 
the enemies of slavery hold, in behalf of freedom and mankind, in its preserva- 
tion. The contest is therefore substantially between Liberty and Slavery. 

As slavery cannot exist with free discussion, so neither can liberty breathe 
without it. Losing this, we too shall be no longer freemen indeed, but little if at 
all superior to the millions we now seek to emancipate. 

With the highest respect, your friend, 

Rev. S. J. May, Corresponding Secretary of Mass. A. S. Society. 


Thursday Afternoon, October 22, 1835. 

My Beloved Brother Garrison: 

The news has reached me of yesterday's proceedings in Boston. I rejoice that 
you have escaped the jaws of the lion, and are yet among the living — the 
living to praise God. To him let us render our humble acknowledgments. 
May you be sustained under your present afflictions, and survive to behold the 
triumph of those principles which you have for some years lived only to advo- 
cate ! I sympathize with you, and every sufferer in our holy cause, and Could 
almost envy you the honor of having been assailed by a blood-thirsty multitude. 
Put your trust in that Being who smiles at the wrath of men, and will cause it 
to advance His glory. 


After all, what have our enemies done ? what have their tar and feathers, their 
demolitions, their lacerations, scourgings and hangings effected ? Have they 
extinguished the truth? No. Have they shaken our principles ? No. Have 
they proved wrong to be right ; falsehood, truth ; cruelty, kindness ; or slavery '» 
liberty ? No. Have they shaken the throne of the Eternal ? Have they palsied 
the arm of Omnipotence ? Have they stopped the ears of the Lord of Sabaoth, 
that the cry of the slave cannot enter ? No ! None of these things have 
occurred. Our principles live, and are triumphing in every direction. The God 
of the American slave sits high on his throne, counting the sighs and groans of 
his people, and will come down to deliver. Abolitionists live, and multiply, and 
daily wax stronger and stronger in the work of mercy they have laid hold upon, 
nor can any scourges our enemies can plait, nor any gibbets they can erect, be 
aught but the emblem of their own infatuation and madness. 

I think I see the end of these outbreakings. The opposers of this cause have 
themselves a bitter lesson to learn. They will rouse a spirit which will speedily 
turn and rend them, when it is too late to prevent it. Let them make mob law 
paramount to all other law, and those respectable instigators will at no distant 
day be destroyed by the recoil of their own weapons. 

Our cause advances rapidly, majestically, and gloriously — who can stay its 
course ? 

I have not time to write more. My heart is with you. As the soul of Jona- 
than was knit to the soul of David, so is my soul to your soul. Your joys, sor- 
rows, perils, persecutions, friends and foes, are mine. May God direct us in this 
crisis, and enable us with meekness and wisdom to do his perfect will, and cheer- 
fully suffer every thing which awaits us ! 

Your unalterably attached friend and brother, 


Thursday Evening, October 22, 1835. 

My Dear Friend and Fellow-Laborer in the Cause op Freedom for Two 
Millions Two Hundred and Fifty Thousand American Slaves : 

Since despatching the few hasty lines which I wrote you on receipt of the news 
of yesterday's proceedings in Boston, I have yielded to a strong impulse to address 
you a longer communication, more fully expressive of the views and feelings with 
which the signs of the times have inspired me. I despair, however, of finding 
words to express adequately the deep sympathy I cherish with you in the midst 
of your trials and persecutions, and the feelings of my soul, as I contemplate 
passing events, and follow out to its ultimate results the headlong wickedness of 
this generation. Surely, we can enter somewhat into the experience of the 
lamenting prophet, when he exclaimed, " O that my head were waters, and 
mine eyes a fountain of tears, that I might weep day and night for the sins of 
this people ! " 

How unutterably affecting is a view of the present aspect of the country ! 
The enslavement of the colored population seems to be but one of a hideous host 


of evils, threatening, in their combined influence, the overthrow of the fairest 
prospects of this wide republic. Of the abolition of slavery I feel certain. Its 
doom is sealed. I read it in the holy and inflexible resolves of thousands who 
are coming up to the contest with the spirit of martyrs, and in the strength and 
under the leadership of Jehovah. I read it in the blind fury and unmitigated 
malignity of Southern tyrants and their Northern participants in crime. I read 
it in the gathering frown and bursting indignation of Christendom. The con- 
summation of our hopes draws nigh. The times are pregnant with great events. 
America must witness another revolution, and the second will be far more illus- 
trious in its results than the first. The second will be a moral revolution ; a 
struggle for higher, holier, more catholic, more patriotic principles: and the 
weapons of our warfare will not be carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling 
down of strongholds. During the progress of this latter revolution will be 
witnessed the advent of "Liberty," in the true sense of that now much abused 
and perverted name : — 

" O spring to light, auspicious babe, be born ! " 

While, however, I have no fears respecting the ultimate effectuation of the object 
so dear to our hearts, I have many fears for the perpetuity of this nation as a 
Republic, for the continuance of these States as a Union, for the existence of that 
Constitution, which, properly respected and maintained, would bless the country 
and the world. These fears do not arise from any tendency to such results in the 
principles of abolition, in themselves considered. Those principles are conserva- 
tive of the peace, and happiness, and security of the nation ; and, if voluntarily 
acted upon, would heal many of the feuds and animosities which have endangered 
the integrity of the Union. My fears are founded upon the symptoms, every 
where exhibited, of an approach to mob-supremacy, and consequent anarchy. 
In every direction, I see the minority prostrate before the majority ; who, despite 
of law, the Constitution, and natural equity, put their heel upon the neck of the 
weaker portion, and perpetrate every enormity in the name of "public opinion." 
"Public opinion" is at this hour the demon of oppression, harnessing to the 
ploughshare of ruin the ignorant and interested opposers of the truth, in every 
section of this Heaven-favored, but mob-cursed land. Already the Constitution 
lies prostrate — an insulted, wounded, impotent form. A thousand hands are 
daily uplifted to send assassin daggers to its heart. Look on the pages of the 
daily press, and say if traitors to liberty and the Constitution are not sedulously 
schooling a hoodwinked multitude to commit a suicidal act upon their own 
boasted freedom ! Count (if they can be counted) the disturbances occurring all 
over the land, and say, is not mob- supremacy the order of the day ? Where is 
the freedom of speech? where the right of association? where the security of 
national conveyances ? where the inviolability of personal liberty ? where the 
sanctity of the domestic circle ? where the protection of property ? where the pre- 
rogatives of the judge ? where the trial by jury ? Gone, or fast disappearing. 
The minority in every place speak, and write, and meet, and walk, at the peril of 
their lives. I speak not now exclusively of the Anti- Abolition mania, which has 
more recently displayed itself with all its froth and foam, and thirst for spoliation 
and blood. I have in mind the Anti-Mormonism of Missouri, and its accompa- 


nying heart-rending persecutions — the Anti- Anti-Masonic fury, with, the abduc- 
tion of Morgan, and its other grim features of destruction and death — the 
burning zeal of Anti-Temperance, with its bonfires and effigies, and its innume- 
rable assaults upon persons and property — the Anti- Gambling and the Anti- 
Insurrection tragedies of Southern States, with their awful waste of human life, 
and the frequent sacrifice of the blood of innocent victims. But time would fail 
to tell of Anti-Whig, and Anti- Jackson, and Anti- Convent, and Anti-Bank, and 
Anti-Kean, and Anti- Anderson, and Anti- Graham, and Anti- Joel Parker, and 
Anti-Cheever, and Anti- Colored School, and Anti-House of Ill-fame riots, with 
all the other anti-men and anti-women, anti-black, and anti-red, and anti-meat 
and anti- drink riots, and mobs, and persecutions, which have distinguished this 
age and land of revivals, and missions, and Bible Societies, and educational ope- 
rations, and liberty, and independence, and equality ! Suffice it to say, that, for 
some years past, all who have dared to act, or think aloud, in opposition to the 
will of the majority, have held their property and being dependent on the clem- 
ency of a mob. Were I a citizen of this country, and did there seem no escape 
from such a dreadful state of things — if I did not, on behalf of the righteous and 
consistent, (for, thank God, there are thousands of such, who cease not day nor 
night to weep and pray for their country,) hope and believe for brighter days and 
better deeds, I should choose to own the dominion of the darkest despot that ever 
sealed the lips of truth, or made the soul of a slave tremble at his glance. If I 
must be a slave, if my lips must wear a padlock, if I must crouch and crawl, let 
it be before an hereditary tyrant. Let me see around me the symbols of royalty, 
the bayonets of a standing army, the frowning battlements of a Bastile. Let me 
breathe the air of a country where the divine right of kings to govern wrong is 
acknowledged and respected. Let me know what is the sovereign will and plea- 
sure of the one man I am taught to fear and serve. Let me not see my rights, 
and property, and liberties, scattered to the same breeze that floats the flag of 
freedom. Let me not be sacrificed to the demon of despotism, while laying hold 
upon the horns of an altar dedicated to "Freedom and Equality!" I hope, 
however, for the best ; I trust to see the people saved from their infatuation and 
madness. I look very much to the spread of Anti-Slavery principles for the 
salvation of the country, for they are the principles of righteous government — 
they are a foundation for order, and peace, and just laws, and equitable adminis- 
tration ; and those who embrace them will be likely to act wisely and righteously 
upon other great questions. 

A mob in Boston ! ! and such a mob I ! ! Thirty ladies completely routed, 
and a board six feet by two utterly demolished, by three thousand or four thou- 
sand respectable ruffians, in broad daylight and broad- cloth ! Glorious achieve- 
ment ! and, as it deserved to be, regularly Gazetted ! Indeed, this noble army of 
gentlemanly savages had all the customary adjuncts of civilized warfare. There 
were "Posts," and "Centinels," and "Couriers," and "Gazettes," and a "Ho- 
mer," too, to celebrate their praise ! 

A mob in Boston ! The birth-place of the Revolution — the Cradle of Liberty I 
A mob in Washington (!) street, Boston, to put down free discussion ! 

" Hung be the heavens with black 1 " 
Shrouded in midnight be the height of Bunker ! Let the bells of the Old South 


and Brattle Street be muffled, and let the knell of the country's boasted honor 
and liberty be rung ! Ye hoary veterans of the Revolution ! clothe yourselves in 
sackcloth ! strew ashes on your heads, and mourn your country's downfall ! 

" For what is left the patriot here ? 
For Greeks a hlush— for Greece a tear! 

Would that you had died, ere the sad truth was demonstrated, that you fought 
and bled in vain ! 

A mob in Boston ! O, tell it not in St. Petersburgh ! publish it not in the 
streets of Constantinople ! But it will be told ; it will be published. The 
damning fact will ring through all the haunts of despotism, and will be a cordial 
to the heart of Metternich, sweet music in the ears of the haughty Czar, and a 
prophetie note of triumph to the sovereign Pontiff. What American lip will 
henceforth dare to breathe a sentence of condemnation against the bulls of the 
Pope, or the edicts of the Autocrat ? Should a tongue wag in affected sympathy 
for the denationalized Pole, the outlawed Greek, the wretched Serf, or any of the 
priest-ridden or king-ridden victims of Europe, will not a voice come thundering 
over the billows — 

" Base hypocrites ! let your charity begin at home ! Look at your own Caroli- 
nas ! Go, pour the balm of consolation into the broken hearts of your two 
millions of enslaved children ! Rebuke the murderers of Vicksburg ! Reckon 
with the felons of Charleston ! Restore the contents of rifled mail-bags ! Heal 
the lacerations, still festering, on the ploughed backs of your citizens ! Dissolve 
the star-chambers of Virginia ! Tell the confederated assassins of Alabama and 
Mississippi to disband ! Call to judgment the barbarians of Baltimore, and Phil- 
adelphia, and New York, and Concord, and Haverhill, and Lynn, and Montpelier, 
and the well-dressed mobocrats of Utica, and Salem, and Boston ! Go, ye 
praters about the soul-destroying ignorance of Romanism, gather again the scat- 
tered schools of Canterbury and Canaan ! Get the clerical minions of Southern 
taskmasters to rescind their 'Resolutions' of withholding knowledge from im- 
mortal Americans ! Rend the veil of legal enactments, by which the beams of 
light divine are hidden from millions who are left to grope their way through 
darkness here to everlasting blackness beyond the grave ! Go, shed your ' pa- 
triotic ' tears over the infamy of your country, amid the ruins of yonder Convent ! 
Go, proud and sentimental Bostonians, preach clemency to the respectable horde 
who are dragging forth for immolation one of your own citizens ! Cease your 
anathemas against the Vatican, and screw your courage up to resist the worse 
than papal bulls of Georgia, demanding, at the peril of your « bread and butter,' 
the ' heads ' of your citizens, and the passage of gag-laws ! Before you rail at 
arbitrary power in foreign regions, save your own citizens from the felonious 
interception of their correspondence ; and teach the sworn and paid servants 
of the Republic the obligations of an oath, and the guaranteed rights of a free 
people ! Send not your banners to Poland, but tear them into shreds, to be dis- 
tributed to the mob, as halters for your sons ! When, next July, you rail at 
mitres, and crosiers, and sceptres, and denounce the bowstring, and the bayonet, 
and the fagot, let your halls be decorated with plaited scourges, wet with the 
blood of the sons of the Pilgrims — let the tar cauldron smoke — the gibbet rear 


aloft its head — and cats, and bloodhounds,* (the brute auxiliaries of Southern 
Liberty men,) howl and bark in unison with the demoniacal ravings of a ' gen- 
tlemanly mob ' — while above the Orator of the day, and beneath the striped 
and starry banner, stand forth in characters of blood, the distinctive mottoes of 
the age : 

Botom toCtf) Hi$cu38(on! 

Hfincft ILato l!Tt:Cumpf)ant ! 

cSUberg jFot IStorr! 

©ail, <£oiumtna! 

Before you weep over the wrongs of Greece, go wash the gore out of your 
national shambles — appease the frantic mother, robbed of her only child, the 
centre of her hopes, and joys, and sympathies — restore to yon desolate husband 
the wife of his bosom — abolish the slave marts of Alexandria, the human flesh 
auctions of Bichmond and New Orleans — * undo the heavy burdens,' • break 
every yoke,' and stand forth to the gaze of the world, not steeped in infamy and 
rank with, blood, but in the posture of penitence and prayer, a free and regene- 
rated nation ! " 

Such, truly, are the bitter reproaches with which every breeze from a distant 
land might be justly freighted. How long — in the name of outraged humanity 
I ask, how long shall they be deserved ? Are the people greedy of a world's ex- 
ecration ? or have they any sense of shame — any blush of patriotism left ? Each 
day the flagrant inconsistency and gross wickedness of the nation are becoming 
more widely and correctly known. Already, on foreign shores, the lovers of cor- 
ruption and despotism are referring with exultation to the recent bloody dramas 
in the South, and the pro-slavery meetings and mobs of the country generally, in 
proof of " the dangerous tendency of Democratic principles." How long shall 
the deeds of America clog the wheels of the car of Universal Freedom ? Vain is 
every boast — acts speak louder than words. While 

M Columbia's sons are bought and sold; " 

while citizens of America are murdered without trial ; while persons and proper- 
ty are at the mercy of a mob ; while city authorities are obliged to make conces- 

♦See the accounts, in Southern newspapers, of a u curious mode of punishment "recently intro- 
duced, called " cat-hauling." The victim is stretched upon his face, and a cat, thrown upon his 
bare shoulders, is dragged to the bottom of the back. This is continued till the body is " lacerated." 

The Vicksburg (Miss.) Register says that Mr. Earl, one of the victims of mobocracy in Mississippi, 
was tortured a whole night to elicit confession. The brutal and hellish tormentors laid Mr. Earl 
upon his face, and drew a cat tail foremost across his body ! ! He hung himself soon after in jail. 

See also the accounts of the Mississippi murders given by a correspondent of the Charleston 
Courier, dating his letter Tyger (how appropriate !) Bayou, Madison County, Miss. The following is 
an extract: — "Andrew Boyd, a conspirator, was required by the Committee of Safety, and Mr. 
Dickerson, Hiram Reynolds, and Hiram Perkins (since killed) were ordered to arrest him. They 
discovered he was flying, and immediately commenced the pursuit, with a pack of trained hounds. 
He miraculously effected his deliverance from his pursuers, after swimming Big Black River, and 
running through cane-brakes and swamps until night-fall, when the party called off the dogs. Early 
next morning they renewed the chase, and started Boyd one mile from whence they had called off the 
dogs. But he effected his escape on horse, (fortune throwing one in his way,) the hounds not being 
Hccu9tomed to that training, after he quit the bush." 


sions to a bloody-minded multitude, and finally incarcerate unoffending citizens 
to save them from a violent death ; while " gentlemen of standing and property " 
are in unholy league to effect the abduction and destruction of a " foreigner," the 
head and front of whose offending is, that he is laboring to save the country from 
its worst foe ; while assemblages of highly respectable citizens, comprising large 
numbers of the clergy, and some of the judges of the land, are interrupted and 
broken up, and the houses of God in which they meet attacked in open day by 
thousands of men, armed with all the implements of demolition ; while the entire 
South presents one great scene of slavery and slaughter ; and while the North 
deeply sympathize with their " Southern brethren," sanction their deeds of felony 
and murder, and obsequiously do their bidding, by hunting down their own fellow- 
citizens who dare to plead for equal rights ; and, finally, while hundreds of the 
ministers of Christ, of every denomination, are making common cause with the 
plunderer of his species ; yea, themselves reduce God's image to the level of the 
brute, and glory in their shame ; I say, while these things exist, professions and 
boasts are " sounding brass ; " men will learn to loathe the name of Republicanism, 
and deem it synonymous with mob despotism, and the foulest oppression on the 
face of the globe ! 

A word to the opposers of the cause of emancipation. You must stop in your 
career of persecution, or proceed to still darker deeds and wider desolations. At 
present, you have done nothing but help us. You have, it is true, made a sincere, 
though impotent attempt to please your masters at the South. The Abolitionists 
have risen, after every attempt to crush them, with greater energy and in greater 
numbers. They are still speaking ; they are still writing ; still praying ; still 
weeping, (not over their sufferings, but your sins) — they are working in public 
and in private, by day and by night — they are sustained by principles you do not 
(because you will not) understand, principles drawn pure from the throne of God — 
they have meat to eat which you know not of, and live, and are nourished, and 
are strong, while you wonder that they do not wither under your frown, and fall 
into annihilation before the thunderbolts of your wrath. Some of you have con- 
versed with them. What think you of the Abolitionists ? of their moral cour- 
age — their tact in argument — their knowledge of the Scriptures — their inter- 
pretation of the Constitution ? Have you found them ignorant ? Have you found 
them weak ? Have you not often been driven to your wits' end by the probing 
questions or ready answers of these silly and deluded women and children ? How, 
then, do you expect to conquer ? If finally by the sword, why delay ? Com- 
mence the work of butchery to-day. Every hour you procrastinate, witnesses an 
increase of your victims, a defection from your ranks, and an augmentation in 
numbers and influence of those you wish to destroy. You profess to be republi- 
cans. Have you ever asked yourselves what you are doing for the principles you 
profess to revere ? In the name of sacred Liberty, I call upon you to pause. I 
conjure you, 

44 By every hallowed name, 

That ever led your sires to fame " — 

pause, and see whither your present deeds are tending. Be honest — be just — 
just to yourselves, just to us, before you condemn us, still more, before you seek 
to destroy us. " Search us, and know our hearts ; try us, and know our thoughts ; 
and see if there be any wicked way in us." Condemn us not unheard. " Strike, 


but hear." Remember, too, that your violence will effect nothing while the liber- 
ty of the press remains. "While the principles and opinions of Abolitionists, as 
promulgated in their journals, are carried on the wings of the wind over sea and 
land, you do but give a wider circulation to those principles and opinions by your 
acts of violence and blood. You awaken the desire, the determination, to know 
and understand what " these babblers say." Be prepared, therefore, to violate the 
Constitution by annihilating the Liberty of the Press. 

In this place, it may not be inappropriate to introduce a passage from an able 
letter, recently addressed by the eloquent M. de Chateaubriand to the French 
Chamber of Deputies, while that body was advocating the recent law for impos- 
ing severe restrictions on the French press : — 

" I could (says he) if I wished, crush you under the weight of your origin, and 
show you to be faithless to yourselves, to your past actions and language. But I 
spare you the reproaches which the whole world heaps upon you. I call not upon 
you to give an account of the oaths you have taken. I will merely tell you that 
you have not arrived at the end of your task, and that, in the perilous career you 
have entered upon — following the example of other governments which have 
met with destruction — you must go on till you arrive, at the abyss. You have 
done nothing till you establish the censorship ; nothing but that can be efficacious 
against the liberty of the press. A violent law may kill the man, but the censor- 
ship alone kills the idea, and this latter it is which ruins your system. Be pre- 
pared, then, to establish the censorship, and be assured that on the day on which 
you do establish it, you will perish." 

In concluding this lengthened communication, let me exhort you, my beloved 
brother, to " be of good cheer," and to exercise unwavering confidence in the God 
you serve — the God of Jacob, and of Elijah, and of Daniel, of all who, with sin- 
gleness, prefer the faithful discharge of duty, and its consequences, to the sugges- 
tions of expediency, and the favor of the world. He is able to deliver you in the 
hour of peril, and give you the victory over all your enemies. To Him resort for 
refuge. He will be a hiding-place from the wind, and a covert from the tempest ; 
as rivers of water in a dry place, as the shadow of a great rock in a weary land. 
To all, who, with you, are waging this holy war, I would say : — Let not passing 
events move you ! The turbu-ence and malignity of your opponents prove the 
potency and purity of your cause. But yesterday, the Abolitionists were esteem- 
ed few, mean, silly, and contemptible. Now, they are of sufficient importance to 
arouse and fix the attention of the entire country, and earth and hell are ransack- 
ed for weapons and recruits, with which to fight the ignorant, imbecile, superan- 
nuated and besotted believers in the doctrine of immediate emancipation. This is 
a good sign — an unequivocal compliment to the divinity of your principles. " Ye 
are not of the world, therefore the world hateth you. Blessed are ye when men 
shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you 
falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad ; for great is your reward 
in heaven ; for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you." Let 
your motto be, " Onwards ! " You have already accomplished much. You have 
awakened the country from its guilty slumber. You can reckon upon three 
hundred Auxiliary Associations, embracing a large portion of the effective moral 
energy of the land. The churches of the North are taking right ground upon the 
question. The principles of abolition are diffused through most of the seminaries 
of learning. The females of America are nobly devoting themselves to this work 


of mercy, regardless of the malignity of their heartless and unmanly persecutors. 
Onwards, therefore ! A few years will witness an entire change in the sentiments 
of the American people ; and those who are now drawn up in opposition to your 
philanthropic movement, will blush to acknowledge the dishonorable part they 
have enacted. A voice from the other side of the Atlantic says, Onwards ! You 
are supported by the prayers and sympathies of Great Britain. The Abolitionists 
of the British empire are with you. They are the friends of the peace, happiness 
and glory of your country, and earnestly desire the arrival of the day, when, hav- 
ing achieved a victory over slavery on this continent, you will join them in ef- 
forts for its abolition throughout the world. While you pray fervently for 
strength in the day of conflict, pray also for grace to bear yourselves with meek- 
ness and charity towards those who oppose you. Pursue your holy object in the 
spirit of Christ, " giving no offence in any thing, that the (cause) be not (justly) 
blamed, but in all things approving yourselves as the servants of God, in much 
patience, in afflictions, in necessities, in distresses, in stripes, in imprisonments, in 
tumults, in labors, in watchings, in fastings ; by pureness, by knowledge, by long- 
suffering, by kindness, by the Holy Ghost, by love unfeigned, by the word of 
truth, by the power of God, by the armor of righteousness on the right hand and 
on the left, by honor and dishonor, by evil report and good report ; as deceivers, 
and yet true ; as unknown, and yet well known ; as dying, and behold you live ; 
as chastened, and not killed ; as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing ; as poor, yet 
making many rich ; as having nothing, and yet possessing all things." 

Your affectionate friend, 

and devoted fellow-laborer, 


Wm. Lloyd Garrison. 

[From the Liberator of Oct. 24th, 1835.] 

Joy to thee, Son of Trial ! and so soon 

Hath it been given thee thy faith to prove ? 

Joy ! so may Heaven only grant this boon, 

That nought on earth thy steadfastness may move ! 

Yet when, but yesternight, I saw thee go, 
Surrounded by that fierce, insensate throng, 
Drunk with the wine of wrath, for evil strong, 

I felt my soul with bitterest fears o'erflow. 

Oh ! with what earnestness of passion went 
Forth from my heart, my whole soul after thee ! 

I knew that, though to bonds and prison sent, 
Thou from all stain of evil still wert free ; 

Yet a strange feeling, half of joy, arose, 

That friend of mine should have such men his foes. 
October 22, 1835, 



letter from william c. nell. 

En Route from Philadelphia to Boston, ) 
October 21, 1855. ) 

Respected Friend: 

Being unavoidably absent from home during your commemoration of the second 
decade of the Boston or Garrison Mob, I reconciled myself mainly by the fact, 
that thereby I had the opportunity afforded me of visiting that victim of judicial 
despotism and slaveholding arbitration, Passmore Williamson. 

Twenty years ago this day, William Lloyd Garrison, for promulgating the 
idea of immediate emancipation, was delivered from the murderous hands of a 
Boston mob, composed of " gentlemen of property and standing," into Leverett 
Street Jail; and at this hour, Passmore Williamson endures martyrdom in 
Moyamensing Prison for his application of immediate emancipation to Jane 
Johnson and her two boys from her self-styled owner, John H. Wheeler. 

My reflections upon the two historical events of 1835 and 1855, induced my 
noting down the following reminiscences, hoping space may be found for them in 
your published report. 

I well remember the emphatically cloudy day, October 21, 1835, and the vari- 
ous scenes and incidents which characterised it, shrouding with indelible disgrace 
and infamy my native city. 

A friend of mine then boarded at a house in Boylston street, where, at the tea- 
table that evening, were assembled many Boston merchants. The Abolition 
Mob was the theme of conversation ; and while a majority evinced their pro- 
slavery spirit by approving of what had occurred, two gentlemen warmly dissent- 
ed, — one of whom, David Tilden, Esq., immediately became a subscriber to The 
Liberator, and so continued until his decease, a few years since. 

A sister of the coachman who so adroitly eluded the mob, and landed Mr. Gar- 
rison safely at the jail, often alluded to the impression made by that hour upon 
her brother. 

I have obtained the following facts from colored Anti- Slavery friends, whose 
feelings were deeply moved on the occasion. 

John T. Hilton accompanied David H. Ela (a printer in Cornhill, since de- 
ceased) to the meeting. They found the stairs impassable, in consequence of the 
crowd, and an altercation ensued. Mr. Ela was struck a severe blow by a man who 
rebuked him for upholding Abolitionists and " niggers." He resisted, until the 
parties were separated by the crowd rushing to seize Garrison in Wilson's Lane. 
The women came down the stairs amidst the hootings and insults of the mob. 
Two prominent men were engaged in tearing down the sign. Mr. Hilton heard a 
printer inform the mob where Garrison was secreted, in the rear of the building, 
where he (Mr. H.) went with the rest, to do what he could to rescue him, or, at 
all events, to be at his side. He saw Mr. Garrison dragged into State street, 
divested of coat and hat, and did not leave until Sheriff Parkman had him in the 
City Hall. 


John Boyer Vashon, of Pittsburg, Pa., was an eye-witness to the terrible 
scene, which was heart-rending beyond his ability ever afterwards to express, as, 
of all living men, John B. Vashon loved William Lloyd Garrison most ; and 
this feeling of affection continued, for aught that is known, to the day of his 
death. When the mob passed along Washington street, shouting and yelling 
like madmen, the apprehensions of Mr. Vashon became fearfully aroused. Pre- 
sently there approached a group which appeared even more infuriated than the 
rest, and he beheld, in the midst of this furious throng, Garrison himself, led on 
like a beast to the slaughter. lie had been on the field of battle, had faced the 
cannon's mouth, seen its lightnings flash and heard its thunders roar, but such a 
sight as this was more than the old citizen soldier could bear, without giving vent 
to a flood of tears. The next day, the old soldier, who had helped to preserve his 
country's liberty on the plighted faith of security to his own, but who had lived 
to witness freedom of speech and of the press stricken down by mob violence, and 
life itself in jeopardy, because that liberty was asked for him and his, with spirits 
crushed and faltering hopes, called to administer a word of consolation to the bold 
and courageous young advocate of immediate and universal emancipation. Mr. 
Garrison subsequently thus referred to this circumstance in his paper : — " On the 
day of the riot in Boston, he dined at my house, and the next morning called to 
see me in prison, bringing with him a new hat for me, in the place of one that 
was cut in pieces by the knives of men of property and standing." 

Rev. James E. Crawford, now of Nantucket, boarded in Boston at the time of 
the mob, and, walking up State street, suddenly encountered the riotous multi- 
tude. On learning that Mr. Garrison was mobbed for words and deeds in behalf 
of the enslaved colored man, his heart and soul became fully dedicated to the 
cause of immediate emancipation. 

At a meeting of colored citizens, held in Boston, August 27th, 1855, on the 
subject of Equal School Rights, William H. Logan alluded to his receiving from 
Sheriff Parkman, soon after the mob, a pair of pantaloons, (or the remnants 
thereof,) which had been torn from Mr. Garrison during the struggle. Mr. G. 
being present at the meeting, remarked, that, until that moment, he had never 
known what became of them. 

Imprisonment is a feature of martyrdom with which Abolitionists in the United 
States have become familiar, especially Mr. Garrison, who, at the bidding of sla- 
very, was, in 1829, incarcerated in Baltimore. But these persecutions are to be 
accepted as jewels in their crown, as seals of their devotion to the cause of millions 
now in the prison-house of bondage. 

For whose speedy emancipation, I remain, 

Fraternally yours, 


Rev. Samuel May, Jr., General Agent Mass. A. S. Society. 



[From the Liberator of March 26, 1836.] 

Written on reading " Right and Wrong in Boston," containing an account of 
the meeting of the Ladies' Anti- Slavery Society, and of the Mob tohich followed, 
on the 1\st of October, 1835. 

Unshrinking from the storm, 

"Well have ye borne your part, 
With woman's fragile form, 

But more than manhood's heart ! 
Faithful to Freedom, when 

Its name was held accursed — 
Faithful, midst ruffian men, 

Unto your holy trust. 

Oh, steadfast in the Truth, 

Not for yourselves alone, 
Matron and gentle youth, 

Your lofty zeal was shown : 
For the bondmen of all climes, 

For Freedom's last abode, 
For the hope of future times, 

For the birthright gift of God ! 

For scorned and broken laws, 

For honor and the right, 
For the staked and perilled cause 

Of liberty and light ; 
For the holy eyes above, 

On a world of evil cast, 
For the children of your love, 

For the mothers of the past ! 

Worthy of them are ye — 
The Pilgrim wives who dared 

The waste and unknown sea, 
And the hunter's perils shared. 

Worthy of her,* whose mind, 

Triumphant over all, 
Ruler nor priest could bind, 

Nor punishment appal. 

Worthy of her,f who died 

Martyr to Freedom, where 
Your " Common's " verdant pride 

Opens to sun and air ; 
Upheld in that dread hour 

By strength which could not fail, 
Before whose holy power 

Bigots and priests turned pale. 

God give ye strength to run, 

Unawed by earth or hell, 
The race ye have begun 

So gloriously and- well, 
Until the trumpet-call 

Of Freedom has gone forth, 
With joy and life to all 

The bondmen of the earth ! — 

Until immortal mind 

Unshackled walks abroad, 
And chains no longer bind 

The image of our God ! 
Until no captive one 

Murmurs on land or wave, 
And in his course the sun 

Looks down upon no slave ! 

* Mrs. Hutchinson, who was banished from the Massachusetts Colony, as the easiest method of 
cc nfuting her doctrines. 

t Mary Dyer, the Quaker martyr, who was hanged in Boston, in 1659, for worshipping God according 
to the dictates of her conscience. 



The following glowing tribute to the American Abolitionists was paid by 
DxVniel O'Connell, Esq., in a speech delivered by him at an immense meeting 
held by the World's Anti- Slavery Convention, in Exeter Hall, London, June, 
1840: — 

" I will now turn to a subject of congratulation : I mean, the Anti-Slavery So- 
cieties of America — those noble-hearted men and women, who, through difficul- 
ties and dangers, have proved how hearty they are in the cause of Abolition. I 
hail them all as my friends, and wish them to regard me as a brother. I wish for 
no higher station in the world ; but I do covet the honor of being a brother with 
these American Abolitionists. In this country, the Abolitionists are in perfect 
safety : here we have fame and honor ; we are lauded and encouraged by the 
good ; we are smiled upon and cheered by the fair ; we are bound together by 
godlike truth and charity ; and though we have our differences as to points of 
faith, we have no differences as to this point, and we proceed in our useful career 
esteemed and honored. But it is not so with our Anti- Slavery friends in Amer- 
ica. There they are vilified, there they are insulted. Why, did not very lately 
a body of men — of gentlemen, so called — of persons who would be angry if you 
denied them that cognomen, and would even be ready to call you out to share a 
rifle and a ball — did not such ' gentlemen ' break in upon an Anti-Slavery Society 
in America ; ay, upon a Ladies' Anti- Slavery Society, and assault them in a 
most cowardly manner ? And did they not denounce the members of that Soci- 
ety? And where did this happen? Why, in Boston — in enlightened Boston, 
the capital of a non-slaveholding State. In this country, the Abolitionists have 
nothing to complain of; but in America, they are met with the bowie-knife and 
lynch law ! Yes ; in America you have had martyrs ; your cause has been 
stained with blood ; the voice of your brethren's blood crieth from the ground, 
and riseth high, not, I trust, for vengeance, but for mercy upon those who have 
thus treated them. But you ought not to be discouraged, or relax in your efforts. 
Here you have honor. A human being cannot be placed in a more glorious posi- 
tion than to take up such a cause under such circumstances. I am delighted to 
be one of a Convention in which are so many of such great and good men. I 
trust that their reception will be such as that their zeal may be greatly strength- 
ened to continue their noble struggle. I have reason to hope, that, in tins assem- 
bly, a voice will be raised which will roll back in thunder to America, which will 
mingle with her mighty waves, and which will cause one universal shout of 
liberty to be heard throughout the world. O, there is not a delegate from the 
Anti-Slavery Societies of America, but ought to have his name, ay, her name, 
written in characters of immortality. The Anti- Slavery Societies in America are 
deeply persecuted, and are deserving of every encouragement which we can pos- 
sibly give them. I would that I had the eloquence to depict their character 
aright ; but my tongue falters, and my powers fail, while I attempt to describe 
them. They are the true friends of humanity, and would that I had a tongue to 
describe aright the mighty majesty of their undertaking ! I love and honor 
America and the Americans. I respect their great principles ; their untiring 
industry ; their lofty genius ; their social institutions ; their morals, such morals 
as can exist with slavery — God knows they cannot be many — but I respect all 


in them or about them that is good. But, at the same time, I denounce and 
anathematize them as slaveholders, and hold them up to the scorn of all civilized 
Europe. I would that the government of this country would determine to have 
no dealings with them, and to tell the United States of America, that they must 
send no more slaveholding negotiators here ! " 



Madame : 

I have scarcely any thing to add to your letter. I would cheerfully sign every 
line of it. Pursue your holy work. You have with you all great souls and all 
good hearts. 

You are pleased to believe, and to assure me, that my voice, in this august 
cause of liberty, will be listened to by the great American people, whom I love so 
profoundly, and whose destinies, I am fain to think, are closely linked with the 
mission of France. You desire me to lift up my voice. 

I will do it at once, and I will do it on all occasions. I agree with you in think- 
ing, that, within a definite time, — that, within a time not distant, the United 
States will repudiate slavery with horror ! Slavery in such a country ! Can 
there be an incongruity more monstrous r Barbarism installed in the very heart 
of a country which is itself the affirmation of civilization ; liberty wearing a 
chain ; blasphemy echoing from the altar ; the collar of the negro chained to the 
pedestal of Washington ! It is a thing unheard of. I say more, it is impossible. 
Such a spectacle would destroy itself. The light of the nineteenth century alone 
is enough to destroy it. 

What ! slavery sanctioned by law among that illustrious people who for seventy 
years have measured the progress of civilization by their march, demonstrating 
democracy by their power, and liberty by their prosperity ! Slavery in the 
United States ! It is the duty of this republic to set such a bad example no 
longer. It is a shame, and she was never born to bow her head. 

It is not w r hen slavery is taking leave of the old nations, that it should be 
received by the new. What ! when slavery is departing from Turkey, shall it 
rest in America ? What ! drive it from the hearth of Omar, and adopt it at the 
hearth of Franklin ? No ! No ! No ! 

There is an inflexible logic which develops more or less slowly, which fashions, 
which redresses, according to a mysterious plan, perceptible only to great spirits, 
the men, the laws, the morals, the people ; or, better, under all human things, 
there are things divine. 

Let all those great souls who love the United States, as a country, be reassured. 
The United States must renounce slavery, or they must renounce liberty. They 
cannot renounce liberty. They must renounce slavery, or renounce the Gospel. 
They will never renounce the Gospel. 

Accept, Madame, with my devotion to the cause you advocate, the homage of 
my respect. 


6 Juillet, 1851, Paris.